‘It’s like we’ve got snow’: Boss of fuel firm starts action plan as demand doubles
PUBLISHED: 07:01 28 March 2020 | UPDATED: 10:33 28 March 2020
The chief executive of Norfolk’s Goff Petroleum said demand was like they saw with the Beast from the East – except “there’s no snow.”
And the message to householders was the same as in supermarkets: “Don’t panic buy.”
A combination of low prices, the fact so many more people are working from home or in self-isolation because of coronavirus and the warning of cold weather ahead has seen a surge in demand for fuel. More than 70,000 homes across the county need it for heating and hot water.
Drivers at firms like Goff Petroleum, a family business in Wymondham run by Michael Goff, have been working around the clock to ensure orders are met, implementing new procedures to keep staff safe while filling up people’s tanks.
The same fuel distributors are also delivering red diesel to the farming community who have now started to work on spring crops and some construction sites also require fuel too.
As a result, firms are extending the cold weather priority scheme for those aged over 75 as well as people in self-isolation.
Will Goff, CEO of Goff Petroleum, said: “We are putting in place all the lessons we learned from coping with the Beast from the East – except there’s no snow.
“We are doing everything we can to deliver to those who need it as well as keeping our staff safe.”
His father, Michael Goff, MD, said: “We are fully operational. We would like to thank all our suppliers for assisting us in keeping our fleet full and on the move, our customers and my team who are making this possible.”
A price war over oil broke out between Russia and Saudi Arabia before the coronavirus outbreak struck, causing it to be much cheaper. But the UK and Ireland Fuel Distributors Association (UKIFDA), the trade body for the industry, said measures were in place to cope with the demand.
Guy Pulham, CEO, said: “Covid-19 has reduced productivity at some member depots with some tanker drivers and call centre staff self-isolating. Some member drivers are also being based at refinery premises to aid deliveries straight from refineries but due to the unprecedented demand tanker drivers are experiencing queuing and long waits at refineries and this has also added to overheads for many members. There really is no need for panic buying.”
He issued this advice:
Tell the fuel firm when you will run out so that they can prioritise and don’t leave it until the last minute.
Don’t order if you don’t need fuel. This will help spread demand over a wider time period given any driver who shows signs of the virus must self-isolate.
Check the level of oil in your tank on a regular basis.
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