BEAM is a local initiative conceived in 2001 by two residents of Burbage near Marlborough to discover if it was possible to purchase heating oil at a reduced rate for multiple customers.
BEAM was launched in 2002.
Leaflets about the scheme were delivered to 790 houses in Burbage.
40 responses were received initially.
The aim was to get a good price for oil bought in bulk by residents of Burbage and also to bring some benefit as funds to the 10 local voluntary groups in the Village.
This model has free membership. Those in the scheme are on a database. When they ring up the designated supplier they are quoted a special price.
The oil suppliers in the area were invited to a "beauty contest" to see who could offer the best deal. Butlers of Devizes won.
Oil is purchased by members at 1p a litre less than standard rate, but there is also a 0.25p a litre cash-back for funds to local groups.
BEAM keep an eye on the price of oil.
Initially they were purchasing 100,000 litres.
Ten years later BEAM has grown to 370 members, residents in other parishes like Collingbourne have joined.
The take up rate is 50% perhaps the other half using oil doesn't understand the benefits of Bulk buy.
BEAM switched supplier when an improved offer was made after Butler was involved in a merger. They now buy from Ford Fuels of Membury who give cash-back of 0.5p per litre.
Once a member has got the "BEAM" price over the 'phone, they can then order - and delivery will occur within a couple of days. Or they can decide to look elsewhere - there is no obligation.
The group now buys 500,000 litres a year which brings in cash-back funds of £2,500. Of this some is taken up with administration leaving around £2,000 for the Voluntary groups.
The Voluntary groups bid for these funds by completing an A4 form.
The completed bid forms are mailed out for members to vote on.
The funds are allocated at the AGM in November.
£20,000 has gone to local Voluntary groups including the Primary School and the Surgery in the past 10 years.
The BEAM model is not the only one in Wiltshire, Community First based in Devizes run a bulk buy scheme that charges a £20 membership fee for residential properties and £100 for businesses. However they do have restrictions on when you can buy and give no funds back to the Voluntary groups.
Another Village runs a bulk buy where they order for the whole village.
With rising prices it makes sense to "buy in bulk".
Trivia - You hear a lot about the price of a barrel of oil but how much is in it?
Answer - a barrel of oil is 159 litres or 35 gallons.
This presentation was kindly given by:
Dr Martin Hamer
Treasurer & Secretary
Click here to view see the slides of the presentation
If you wish to discuss this model with Dr Hamer please contact us at wfcap.