Why is the Cold Weather Priority Initiative Necessary?
According to the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE), there are around 40,000 ‘excess winter deaths’ in the UK each year.
This term describes avoidable deaths where cold is a significant contributing factor. We also know from NICE that, of these avoidable deaths, over 80% occurred in people aged 75 and over.
The CWP scheme is designed to identify those people who may be susceptible to colder conditions, enabling fuel suppliers across the UK to know exactly who may be at risk, enabling them to take pro-active steps to ensure fuel deliveries these customers, particularly during times of fuel shortages or extreme cold weather.
Importantly, it costs customers absolutely nothing to be part of the CWP initiative.
How Does the Cold Weather Priority Initiative Work?
The first challenge for the fledgling CWP was to agree a common definition of the customers who would qualify for the CWP scheme. The oil distribution industry trade association The Federation of Petroleum Suppliers (FPS) worked with heating oil suppliers and industry associations across the LPG distribution sector to reach the agreed definition, which includes households where:
- There are known to be one or more residents aged 75 years or over; and/or
- There are one or more residents known to be chronically sick or registered disabled
At the time of the initiative’s launch in May 2017, it was only possible to use data based on customer ages. However, the CWP initiative has partnered with database experts Experian with a view to incorporating sickness and disability data at a later date.
Partnering with Experian has already enabled the creation of a process in which participating companies send their customer data records to Experian, who use a variety of sources to create a sub-set identifying those who qualify for the CWP category.
This sub-set is normally around 15% of the whole database, and is returned to the participating company enabling them to identify customers requiring priority service in cold weather.
We have also worked with the Chief Fire Officers’ Association (CFOA) and the Scottish Fire & Rescue Service (SFRS). By asking customers in the CWP scheme if we can pass their details to the Fire & Rescue services, we can enable ‘Safe and Well’ visits to be arranged for them.
Fortunately, situations where supplies of fuel are short and the cold is extreme are relatively rare.
However, the CWP initiative provides a new layer of support that enables fuel suppliers to be pro-active in their support of CWP customers, and provides a positive link into the wider support network available for them.
Source: Cold Weather Priority
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