According to The National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE), each year in the UK, there are 40,000 so-called ‘excess winter deaths' as a result of cold. 82.5% of these are among the elderly (aged 75 and over) enter the Cold Weather Priority Initiative. Based on ONS data, in England alone there were as many as 1,724 extra deaths during the 'Beast from the East' (22 February to 3 March 2018). Across the UK the number the number may even be as high as 2000.
In response to this and with winter approaching off grid energy trade association, The Federation of Petroleum Suppliers, whose members supply up to 1.5 million rural homes in the UK and 733,000 homes in the Republic of Ireland with heating oil, is urging members of the public who are 75+ and who use heating oil to sign up to the Cold Weather Priority Initiative.
The CWP initiative will assist in identifying and help those most at risk so they are prioritised for delivery when it comes to heating oil supplies throughout the winter months, especially during periods of extreme cold weather or fuel shortages.
FPS Chief Executive Guy Pulham comments:
"Cold Weather Priority is an important industry initiative that was launched in 2017 and played a key role in the heavy snow ‘Beast From The East' we experienced earlier this year. Many of our members implemented the CWP scheme to help prioritise elderly and vulnerable customers during that bad weather period. Thankfully, situations where supplies of fuel are short and the cold is extreme are rare but before the winter sets in we are asking members of the public who are aged 75 and over to get in touch with their FPS member heating oil supplier if they believe they should be part of the CWP initiative. FPS members will also over the next few months be employing various methods to identify customers who they believe fall into the ‘CWP' category, so that deliveries can be prioritised to these people during the winter months."
The CWP initiative has also received support from The Rt Hon Claire Perry MP, Minister of State, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy who comments:
"The last 12 months have shown the problems that severe conditions can cause and for those using heating oil and liquified petroleum gas to heat their homes this can be particularly challenging. The Cold Weather Priority Initiative is a welcome effort by industry to provide security and comfort to thousands of those most in need."