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BJ’s Wholesale Club has found a unique way to take advantage of high oil prices while creating for itself a differential advantage – it is expanding a successful home heating oil program so that it is offered in more than 80 locations in eight sates from Pennsylvania to Maine.

Tested last year, the program saved BJ’s members more than 20 percent on their heating oil costs during the 2003-2004 winter months, or between $200 and $300 for the season. It offers “competitively priced heating oil with no hidden fees,” according to the company. A one-year membership at BJ’s costs $40.

BJ's heating oil program is managed by PriceEnergy, with deliveries made by PriceEnergy's network of local heating oil companies.

The retailer currently operates 153 clubs and 80 gas stations in 16 states.
KC's View:
Having grown up in a family where the common response to a complaint about the house being too cold was “put on a sweater,” and having spent most of our life in parts of the country where the winter gets a little chilly, we think that any way to save money on heating bills is a positive thing.

This seems like a really smart move by BJ’s. It’s consistent with the company’s price-oriented message, and it is a service that gives it a competitive advantage.

We all pay attention when companies like Costco – which we admire tremendously – decide to sell caskets. It’s an oddity, and something to write about. Well, BJ’s deserves credit for having come up with an idea that can matter to consumers on an everyday basis.