The UK and Ireland Fuel Distributors Association (UKIFDA) is urging more consumers of heating oil aged 75 and over to sign up to its Cold Weather Priority scheme this winter, in a bid to help prevent excess winter deaths.
Originally launched in 2017, the Cold Weather Priority scheme is industry-led and has the full support of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
“This scheme is effective and works because it enables our UKIFDA Member suppliers to identify the most vulnerable individuals so they can then prioritise deliveries of heating oil to them when needed,” explains Ken Cronin, UKIFDA Chief Executive.
“Now in its fifth year, the Cold Weather Priority scheme has enabled elderly consumers, who heat their homes using heating oil, to sign up for prioritised deliveries when there are supply shortages or extreme weather.
“We want more consumers who are aged 75 and over to sign up to the scheme to ensure they stay warm throughout winter.”
When there are excess winter deaths, the victims are often in their mid-70s or older. The Cold Weather Priority scheme has been designed to tackle excess winter deaths and has proven vital during the past few years, including when the Beast from the East struck in February 2018 and throughout the Covid pandemic in winter 2020.
Ken Cronin adds: “We were delighted with how well the initiative worked when Covid arrived – it really helped during the pandemic last winter as many UKIFDA Members extended the scheme to ensure the maximum number of consumers possible received the most help and were able to stay warm during this extremely difficult time.
“This winter, there is still the unknown pressure on the supply chain from Covid, making it just as important for consumers to join the scheme now if they haven’t already done so.
“Warm homes are vital in the fight against excess winter deaths as elderly people are most at risk from a cold home. Without sufficient heat, a cold home can cause blood pressure issues, damage immune systems, and lead to respiratory illnesses.
“Thanks to the scheme, UKIFDA Member suppliers can identify those most at risk from the cold and ensure they prioritise their deliveries throughout winter so they have enough fuel to keep warm during the coldest months.
“The scheme is free and consumers only need to speak to their local UKIFDA fuel distributor about joining and they will help them. By signing up now, you will become part of the scheme before winter hits – meaning your fuel deliveries will be prioritised whenever needed this winter.”
Find out more about UKIFDA’s Cold Weather Priority scheme here.
27th October 2021