It looked as if, a few years ago, that coal was dead in the water. People were getting rid of their stoves and getting in oil. It seemed old-fashioned, a thing of the past – outdated. I did the same. It was only when I worked out that I had used 500 litres of oil in 37 days at a cost of €460 that I decided that I needed to look at other ways of heating the house.


Oil is much more expensive now than when I first changed to it. I was told that a lot of people had switched back to coal. Indeed one person told me that I must be the only person left in Moville solely using oil. “You must be rich” he said.

That was it. First of all I heard of the place in Culmore that does heating oil much cheaper than it is in Moville. It seems that lots of people are going there and getting a few plastic oil drums with to take home with them. I’ve done a couple of runs now.


It costs about 79 cents (around 68.4p) a litre there and you can buy as little as you want. Even if you buy 500 litres of it and get the major price reductions from buying it in bulk on this side of the border it is 94p a litre.

The one thing I’ll say to watch, though, is that they don’t give a good exchange rate. The exchange rate is currently 86p for every Euro and they give 82p. It’s not that much different from the bank but it is still better if you have sterling.

It’s also still a good deal cheaper even if you do only get 82p from them.

When petrol is cheaper this side of teh border I don’t know why heating oil is so much dearer. It used to be the same for food when people used to go on runs to Derry for their weekly shopping. Now it is much cheaper to shop in Gillens than it is in Sainsbury’s and most people have taken the hint.

Phase 2

As regards the oil in Culmore, that was phase 1 for me to reduce my costs. Phase 2 was to get some coal. I contacted Seamus Harkin and asked how much coal is now. It used to be €11 a bag when I used to buy it. He told me it was now €15 a bag. That’s not too big a difference compared to how oil has shot up.

I asked him to deliver a couple of bags which he did. I wondered if other people were doing the same as me and switching from oil to gas. Seamus confirmed that this was the case – big style. I wish I’d known about it before. I must have been spending pretty close to €5,000 a year on oil.

Whole House

We spend most of our time in one room so there’s no point in warming up the whole house. I’m told everyone else just sticks the oil on for an hour in the morning and an hour at night. I had it on for about 9 hours a day. It was costing me €13 a day.

Now, was the chimney blocked? Did it need sweeping? Was there a bird’s nest at the top. I was advised to burn some paper first to check rather than lighting a whole fire.

That test has now been done and it is all system clear. All I need is to light the fire now – and then count the money I’m saving.

Contact Details

PS – if your burning a load of oil just like me and want to get back to coal, Seamus Harkin’s number is 9382054

Foyleview Fuels in Culmore’s number is 048 71 357684 for cheaper oil.

THings are very tight nowadays so it makes sense to cut your costs if your income has been cut.