What to know when switching propane companies
Switching propane companies shouldn’t be difficult. A couple of phone calls, schedule an appointment and voilà, new propane company! Unfortunately, the big internationally corporate giants don’t play by the same rules as your local, family owned propane suppliers. The big guys make up the rules as they go along.
One of the oldest tricks in the book: A customer calls propane company 1 to let them know they are going to discontinue service. They are switching to propane company 2. Company 1 – a super big greedy international propane corporation – decides to FILL YOUR TANK the day you call to say, “please stop deliveries”. They say you didn’t give enough notice, the delivery order was already dispatched, big pump out fee, etc. The easiest way to prevent this is to mark the tank with a big sign and take photos as proof in-case they filled it anyway.
Many consumers stay with their current propane supplier simply out of the ‘unknowns’ with how-to change regardless of how much that company may be overcharging or how bad their service has become.
We’ve also seen where some of the big Wall Street owned national propane corporations have scare tactics and hidden fees they want to charge if a customer attempts to change providers. If you’re looking to possibly change companies – here are some frequently asked questions:
Q: Is changing to Combined Energy Services a simple process?
A: Yes. It all starts with a call to our customer service reps who may be able to set it all up on the phone or we can have a field customer service / sales rep stop by your property for a no-obligation consultation. Very often it’s easier to have a rep look to see what you currently have, what we can do and any recommended changes. We make it all very simple and painless!
Q: My current tank belongs to another supplier. Does CES provide loaned tanks or do I have to buy one?
A: Yes! We have tanks of every size and even offer a variety of colors to choose from. No, we do not sell tanks. Find out why we prefer to lease tanks by reading this article.
Q: I have a buried propane tank owned by another supplier; can I still change to CES?
A: Certainly! We lease buried propane tanks (500 & 1000 gal common sizes) for $1 per year when used for central heating. We swap out your existing tank from another supplier at no cost to you. CES has our own fleet of excavation equipment and your new tank will be protected from corrosion with new sacrificial magnesium anode bags as required by code.
Q: What does it cost to change to CES?
A: Nothing. We install our loaned tank at no cost and typically provide the pressure regulator on the tank and any outside connections. If you’re heating with propane, we often can install the tank up to 100 feet from your home at no cost using buried plastic propane piping that will never deteriorate, the same that’s used for natural propane.
Q: Do I need to wait until my propane tank is empty before changing to CES?
A: Normally no. Depending on the jurisdiction we’re able to pump your propane over from the existing tank into our newly installed one. Some of propane companies have a “cancellation fee” or “tank pump out fee” for any propane remaining in your old tank so it’s best to consult with one of our sales professionals to see how best we can assist you. The one thing we’ve learned is make sure you put a big sign inside the tank lid of your old tank if you don’t want a refill since it’s a common trick for the super-big nationwide companies to immediately FILL YOUR TANK the day you call to say stop deliveries. It’s often a tactic to keep you as a customer by adding expense to the switch. If you’re making a move – put a sign under the lid and even take a photo of it. This way if they come and fill it, you don’t have to pay for the propane and they then must remove a full tank.
Q: Does CES have repair service for my propane burning appliances & heating system and are they available after hours?
A: Absolutely! Our service staff is available 24/7 so any time you have a problem we’re just a phone call away any time night or day!
Q: How can I be sure you’re not just like the other companies and I’m going to hate you as well?
A: This is the great part about dealing with a local, family owned & operated company. We’ve been servicing propane customers in the region since 1968 and have thousands of satisfied, long time customers. To read some of what our customers have to say -click HERE.
To learn more about becoming a CES customer, to find out what we offer, pricing plans and what makes us different from all the competition, feel free to give us a call at 800-874-1975 or complete the form below.
Let’s start with what automatic delivery entails. When you sign up for automatic delivery, Combined Energy Services monitors your fuel consumption. We use a three-point system to determine when you need fuel. This isn’t something arbitrary. We don’t just stop by when we’re in the neighborhood or wait until fuel prices are the highest, hoping that you’ll be empty. A lot of planning goes into automatically scheduling your delivery.
Step #1 – Heating Fuel Usage History
Your individual fuel consumption plays prominently in our automatic delivery calculation. If we don’t have a household history, we may look at a previous resident’s consumption if that information is available.
We also consider how the fuel is being used. Is it for heat or do you also use it for water heating? Maybe you have a propane stove or a space heater too. What temperature do you like to keep the home? A toasty 74°F may cost more than a chilly 62°F. How well your home is insulated, dictates your home’s heat loss, and this is HUGE in the amount of heating fuel you are going to burn.
Step #2 – Heating Degree Days
CES monitors heating degree days. What are heating degree days? They are the difference between the daily temperature mean – the high temperature plus the low temperature divided by two – and 65°F. If the temperature mean is below 65°F, you subtract the mean from 65 and the result is heating degree days.
Calculate the mean
- Daily high temperature is 42 and the low is 28.
- 42 + 28 = 70
- 70/2 = 35 is the mean daily temperature
Calculate the heating degree days
- 65 – 35 = 30 heating degree days
Heating degree days are calculated for each day of the month and then added together for the monthly total. Adding these days up is a good predictor of what your heating bills will be. The higher the degree days, the higher the bill and vice versa.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the average number of heating degree days for our tri-state region is 5,910. These days are typically distributed in a bell curve shape over the months of September through April, with January and February typically being the coldest months. It’s during these months that you will also see your highest heating bills.
Step #3 – K-Factor
K-what? Yes, K-Factor! K-Factors are calculated by taking the amount of degree days between deliveries divided by the amount of fuel delivered. This is your “miles per gallon” for your home. The higher the K-Factor, the longer you can go between deliveries. The lower the K-Factor, the more often you need deliveries.
Here’s an example:
If 1,000-degree days are between deliveries and you use 200 gallons of fuel, your K-Factor would be 1,000/200 = 5. Using the example degree days from above of 30-degree days, you would divide 30 by 5 and the resulting 6 gallons is what you would use for a day with 30-degree days.
Ideally, we would have several deliveries to determine an accurate K-Factory portrayal. It’s why initially, we do manual checks and adjust as necessary. This is also why when there are changes in your consumption (i.e. A lot of company or unseasonably cold/warm) that your K-Factor might need to be adjusted.
So, after reading all that goes into determining an automatic delivery plan for your home or business, what is holding you back from enrolling in automatic delivery? Based upon everything above, you will need heating fuel anyway. Take one more thing off your worry list and let us plan your deliveries. Not only will you avoid fees associated with a run-out, but you will also become a priority delivery during bad weather.
Sign up today! Call us at 800-874-1975. Have your current fuel gauge reading available for our customer service representatives. They will determine when you need a delivery and place your account on automatic delivery moving forward.
*Please note: Automatic delivery is not fail-safe and is NOT a guarantee that you will never run out of fuel. Many factors come into your home’s energy consumption. If you suspect that your consumption is higher than normal, check your gauge. If necessary, call the office and arrange for a delivery.
The CES App was already great for mobile account management. We just added another convenient process that you can do from your phone: Order home heating oil or kerosene. If you are a will call customer (meaning you call CES when your tank reading is at 30% tank), you can now process that order on our mobile app without calling the office.
Log into your CES account on your Apple or android phone. Don’t have the app? Get it here:
You will immediately see the option in the bottom right corner to Order Fuel. Click on the link. If you have more than one account, you will see several list on the first screen. Otherwise, click on the opposing arrows in the top right and select the tank or account.
On the next screen verify that this is the correct account and click on Order. In the event that you’ve already placed an order or have a payment pending, you will get a pop up that asks if this is a new order or if you would like to make a payment. Select the appropriate response for your situation and continue to the next screen.
Once on this screen you can fill the tank or select the number of gallons you would like to order by sliding the fill tank button to the left. You can then either type the number of gallons in the box or use the slide bar to adjust your quantity. Please remember there are fees associated with short fills. Visit here to review charges.
When you are satisfied with the quantity of fuel you are ordering click in the top right on Next. A pop up box will appear. If you want to proceed with your order, select Yes. Otherwise return to the previous screen by selecting No.
At this point you select how you would like to pay for your order. There are two options: Credit/Debit Card or eCheck. Complete the required information and press Continue on the bottom of the page. You will then receive a confirmation of your order if everything went through or you will be propmpted to return to the previous screen and re-enter your payment information.
CES is making ordering your next delivery of fuel easier. Whether you are looking for the convenience associated with a few clicks and swipes or if you would prefer to call and speak with one of our Customer Services Reps, we’ve got you covered. Don’t forget if you want a really simple option, sign up for automatic delivery, and totally take the worry out of fuel ordering! Contact us today at 800-874-1975 if you have questions.
We’re proud to say that we’ve gained almost 1000 new propane customers in Sussex County NJ in the last couple years. We keep hearing over and over – customers all over north New Jersey want service from their propane company which seems to be greatly lacking from the big nationwide stock market gas companies that have gobbled up all the “small guys”.
Whether you use propane for cooking, water heating, whole home heating, space heaters, gas fireplace or logs, BBQ on the deck, clothes drying, back up electric generator – CES is the company to call to handle all your propane gas needs. From Franklin to Sparta, Lake Hopatcong, Montague, Vernon, Greenwood Lake, Cranberry Lake to High Point, Greenwood Lake to Stockholm – we’re the #1 propane provider all over Sussex County.
The Old Clove Church – built 1829, CES propane customer since 2014 !
To learn more about what Combined Energy Services can offer, give us a call: 973-948-0090 or fill out the form below to get a no obilgation review with one of our sales pros. Since 1968, family owned & operated – making propane easy and affordable!
Don’t visit your vacation home in the Catskills, Poconos or Northern New Jersey often in the winter? Too busy to keep an eye on your propane guage? Afraid you’re going to run out of propane and have your pipes freeze? We have several options that can help alleviate your stress and make you winter visits more relaxing.
First and foremost: SIGN UP FOR AUTOMATIC DELIVERY! With auto delivery, CES takes on the responsibility of making sure your tank stays full. We pay attention to degree days and schedule deliveries at the optimal fill time when your tank is at 30%.
Second – DOWNLOAD THE SMART PHONE APP! With both Apple & Android applications, the CES app is a great way to manage your account. You can view the estimated amount remaining in your tank, look at historical data (both payments & deliveries) and pay your bill. All with just a few swipes on the phone. Get the app from the Apple Store or the Google Play Store. You do need to know your account number to register (Located on a delivery receipt or bill). To use the app to pay your bill, you will also need to set up a billing profile. Don’t forget you can also use our website and both the app & the website use the same login credentials.
Finally – CONSIDER A REMOTE TANK MONITOR! CES offers our customers that heat with propane a cellular monitor that tells us how much propane is in your tank all times. Therefore, there’s no need to have to worry about calling for gas again. These monitors are especially great for weekend homes and those with sporadic heating schedules. Effectively eliminating the fear of running out of gas.
The tank monitor is available for FREE if you use 600 gallons of propane per year. Otherwise, there is a $139/year fee. Look at this as $11.58 per month for peace of mind. Frozen pipes caused by running out of propane and the cost of repairing the damage could go well into the thousands of dollars. For less than 40 cents per day, you can take that worry off your plate.
Contact any Combined Energy Services office and find out how you can take advantage of our cutting-edge technology. CES moving forward, remembering our history – 50+ years of serving local families & businesses. A trusted community partner.