At the beginning of the year we highlighted the Cold Weather Priority and how it has been designed to identify those customers most vulnerable to cold conditions. With a deep freeze forecasted for next week, here are some answers to the most frequently asked questions about the Cold Weather Priority scheme.
Section 1: Origins of the scheme
Is this a Government scheme? No, it is industry-led by heating oil trade association The Federation of Petroleum Suppliers (FPS) but devised in full consultation with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), who give this initiative their full support. The scheme takes in best practice from industry, Government, regulation, charities and academia.
Must every company in the industry participate in the CWP scheme? Membership of the scheme is entirely voluntary, but Cold Weather Priority expects that most businesses in the sector will wish to join. Members of the Federation of Petroleum Suppliers may also display the CWP logo on their website and other communications, demonstrating its caring nature to its customers.
How did the CWP scheme originate? At an industry meeting with Government and other stakeholders in October 2014, we agreed to look into what could be done.
Section 2: How the scheme works
How does the scheme work? FPS members will be employing various methods to identify customers who they believe fall into the ‘CWP’ category, whether that is speaking to customers when heating oil orders are placed to identify if they may fall into the CWP category, writing to customers or a data exchange with Experian to identify CWP customers so that deliveries can be prioritised to these people during the winter months. The FPS is also urging customers who are aged over 75 to get in touch with their heating oil supplier if they believe they should be part of the CWP initiative.
What part do the industry trade associations play in the process? FPS has helped set up the scheme and gaining support from their members. The FPS have also helped to agree how the industry will adopt the scheme. For example, the FPS has built CWP into the Code of Conduct they manage of behalf of their members. The trade association also pays an annual fee to Experian to help support the scheme financially.
Who are Experian? Experian plc is a global information services group with operations in 40 countries, with corporate headquarters in Dublin and operational headquarters in Nottingham. It is a FTSE 100 company, very experienced in data management, in data privacy compliance and in confidential data exchanges.
What is the relationship between our industry and Experian: Experian provides the data management capability for an individual company in the scheme who wishes to use this method, and receives a small fee in return (see below).
How were Experian chosen? When we started to look at how we could address the issue of CWP customers, we were recommended to speak with the Cheshire Fire & Rescue Service as they had worked on a method of using data to help target Fire Safety Visits more accurately. When we looked into this, we found a methodology we could adopt for identifying and assisting CWP customers. Experian were already helping Cheshire Fire & Rescue Service to identify those who would benefit from ‘Safe and Well’ visits. So we initiated conversations with them to discuss their methodology. We also looked at options with other providers, but found that Experian was the most suitable company for the initiative.
What information would you give to CFOA?: We would provide name, address and contact details. CFOA would then pass this information on to the relevant Fire & Rescue Service, which would contact people to arrange Safe & Well Visits. This information would not be used for any other purpose by those authorities.
Can you guarantee fuel supply to CWP customers? The scheme will certainly help us to prioritise CWP customers and to ensure, as far as possible, that their needs are met. However, the supply of heating oil is subject to a huge range of factors and it is therefore impossible to guarantee it.
How much do you pay Experian? The cost that we have agreed to pay Experian covers their time in processing the data and other costs that they directly incur such as data licensing fees. The Federation of Petroleum Suppliers pays an annual subscription of just over £2,000, and each participating company will pay £100 to Experian each time they run their own data set, recommended twice a year.
Who manages the CWP scheme? Once set up, the CWP scheme will run in the background and simply become a normal part of the way the industry operates.
Is there an industry database behind the system? No, each company in the industry has its own list of customers, though of course these lists do overlap. Each participating company handles its own data with absolute confidentiality.
Source: Cold Weather Priority
Barton Petroleum ia a member of the Federation of Petroleum Suppliers and joined the Cold Weather Priority scheme. Click here to find out about our home heating oil delivery service.