Years ago I had a customer call looking to move on from his oil provider and having turned him on to a reliable company, it was a few years later when the same customer called giving me a good hearted ribbing for the referral as they were running on fumes and fortunately had cause to head down to the basement and notice it before they were out in the cold. He was upset and looking to again switch up providers because he was on automatic delivery and clearly, they had dropped the ball. While very few oil and propane providers have hit or miss volume indicators, automatic delivery is based almost entirely on historic usage. In this case, my guy would check out on Labor Day, we’d dial the heat back to 52 and joke about hoping we wouldn’t talk until Memorial Day Weekend. It was on New Year’s Eve day when he glimpsed the gauge on the oil tank having arrived one week before Christmas with the family when 52 was bumped up to 70 and had remained there for two weeks.
Such as most with a history of vacating for the off season, oil and propane providers will work off historical deliveries. In this case, we were at 52 and would realize a top off every 3 ½ months. Needless to say, running 18 degrees higher for two weeks will bend that curve having of course disrupted the routine cycle.
Some time ago we endured a very atypical stretch of weather where we didn’t climb out of the 20’s for over two weeks. In spite of thermostats set in the typical 52 – 58 range, systems were working harder and longer to keep up and of course whenever I’d raise a flag when we approached a quarter tank, the response was “But we’re on automatic delivery.”
Bucking historical usage was commonplace during our Zombie Apocalypse where at one point upwards of 70% of my base was in house or on loan. A last minute weekend or cold snap isn’t going to turn the world upside down but for anyone here on an extended stay or renting in the off season which still has some appeal for the last of the remote workforce, remember that automatic is in fact an educated guess.