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How are the roads this morning? Is the T running on time? Will school be cancelled again today? Winter comes with enough worries. So wondering if you’re getting a fair deal on your home heating oil shouldn’t be one of them. That’s where the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation and the Division of Standards come in.

 

What is the Division of Standards?

The Division of Standards (DOS) is one of five agencies under the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation. The DOS enforces laws and regulations relating to weights and measures and the use of weighing and measuring devices in commercial transactions. In simpler terms, the DOS enforces the accuracy of item pricing and price scanners, scales, weights and measures.

 

What’s the DOS doing about heating oil?

Division of Standards Compliance Officers recently kicked off another winter inspection season, during which they inspect fuel oil delivery trucks to ensure that consumers receive accurate deliveries. Officers check deliveries throughout the winter months, looking for illegal fuel oil by-passes and checking meter security seals for evidence of tampering. Delivery tickets are also examined to ensure that the number of gallons printed on the delivery ticket matches the number of gallons indicted on the meter display. Massachusetts law requires delivery tickets be mechanically printed and must display the date, price per gallon, total gallons delivered, and the identity of the person making the delivery.

 

Why should you, the consumer, care?

That’s easy. It’s your money. Although the cost of heating oil has fallen to an historic low, $1.60 per gallon on average, no one wants to pay more than they should. Here are some steps you can take to help reduce to cost of heating your home and ensure accurate deliveries throughout the winter.

 

  • Have your heating oil and propane heating equipment serviced to ensure it’s in peak operating condition.

 

  • Purchase a programmable thermostat and set it at a lower setting at night and during the day if you are not at home.

 

  • Check and save all of your delivery tickets. The delivery tickets can be used by weights and measures for auditing purposes in the event you are questioning the amount of fuel delivered.

 

  • Average out your daily usage between deliveries. If you observe a spike in the average daily usage and the weather has not been colder than normal contact the Division of Standards or your local weights and measures department.

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