After being cast aside for cleaner energy sources, much-maligned oil is back in high demand as the region grapples with an extended blast of frigid air.
Homeowners who use heating oil but don’t have regular deliveries scheduled are scrambling to get someone on the phone just to take their orders. Dealers say customers without contracts might have to wait several days or even a week to get their tanks refilled.
“We can’t keep up with the phone calls,” said Laura Bicknell Carbone, vice president of Alvin Hollis in Weymouth. “We’re getting probably 100 every five minutes.”
No one expects an oil shortage yet, as long as the barges that bring the fuel to Boston can still navigate the icy waters of Massachusetts Bay. But prices are higher than they were last year, and the prolonged cold snap already has caused headaches for the energy industry.