To help prevent the rising number of cold weather-related deaths in the UK, Certas Energy has launched a Cold Weather Priority (CWP) Initiative, in collaboration with the Federation of Petroleum Suppliers and UKLPG.
According to the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE), as many as 40,000 people die in the UK each year due to insufficient heating in cold weather. These are avoidable deaths, where cold is a significant contributing factor and 80% of which occur in people aged 75 and over.
Homes that are off the grid are most at risk and the new initiative identifies customers who are more vulnerable in colder conditions to ensure that fuel deliveries to their homes are prioritised, especially in times of fuel shortage or extreme cold weather. Fortunately, these situations are rare but the initiative enables fuel suppliers to provide an additional level of support at no additional cost to the customer.
A Cold Weather Priority (CWP) household is classed as one where there are known to be one or more residents aged 75 years or over and there are also plans to provide support for residents known to have a disability or suffer from a chronic illness.
Brian Worrall, Director of Corporate Affairs at Certas Energy, said: “Cold weather-related deaths are a serious issue in the UK, particularly as we face a growing ageing population. Our hope is that the fuel and oil industry will come together to support the initiative to help prevent thousands of avoidable deaths every winter and ease the strain on our health services.
“After years of planning, we are extremely proud of the response we have had to the Cold Weather Priority initiative so far and hopefully it will keep those in need of a little extra help warm and safe for many winters to come.”
Following an initial trial across Cheshire, the initiative is being rolled-out nationwide with participating companies working with information services provider, Experian, to quickly and easily identify households that require priority service in cold weather.
In partnership with the Chief Fire Officers’ Association (CFOA) and the Scottish Fire & Rescue Service (SFRS), the initiative also offers all CWP customers the option to schedule a “Safe and Well” visit carried out by local fire and rescue services. These are an extension of the previous Fire Safety Visits, and are designed to check that vulnerable households are safe and well.
Commenting on the initiative, Richard Quallington, Interim Chief Executive of Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE) said: “ACRE is delighted to support this initiative and encourage any rural residents who are eligible to register. We are very keen to see that those most in need are able to benefit from important initiatives such as this.”
To find out more about the Cold Weather Priority initiative, please visit www.coldweatherpriority.co.uk