Last winter there were an estimated 50,100 excess winter deaths in England and Wales*, 15,000 of which were related to a cold home**.
This is the highest number of excess deaths recorded since the winter of 1975/76.
Oil installers know that in extreme weather conditions supply shortages can leave even healthy homeowners in desperate conditions, let alone the elderly and vulnerable.
Cold homes can lead to increased blood pressure or lowered immune system making occupiers more vulnerable to respiratory infections.
The freezing conditions expected over the next few weeks are a stark reminder of the important role that heating installers can play in helping customers to stay safe.
By taking a proactive approach to your customer service you can be sure that your customers are toasty and warm this winter.
Here are some tips:
Cold Weather Priority (CWP) – The CWP is an industry initiative launched by the Federation of Petroleum Suppliers (FPS) last year. This scheme enables FPS member heating oil suppliers to identify and prioritise deliver to customers aged 75.
Make sure your elderly customers know about the CWP. If they are eligible to be part of the scheme, they need to alert their local FPS member heating oil supplier who will add them to the register.
You can find out more about the CWP scheme here.
Annual boiler service reminder – Just like gas boilers, oil boilers should be serviced on a yearly basis to check they are in good working order. Keep a record of the boilers you service so that you can remind customers when their annual service is due.
At the same time, you could provide your customers with a flyer about the benefits of regular boiler servicing:
- Keep system running efficiently
- Reduce winter heating bills
- Avoid breakdown
- Prevent costly replacements and repairs
- Reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning
Healthy heating advice – Keeping energy bills to a minimum is high on the priority list for most people during the winter season. Why not add value to your service by creating a short guide containing your professional advice about how customers can make the most out of their oil central heating:
- Buy heating oil early to avoid shortages
- Stock up when prices are low
- Regular boiler servicing will ensure energy efficiency
- Reducing the temperature by just 1ºC can reduce the annual fuel bill by up to 10%
- Tips about draught-proofing and insulation
For elderly customers any guides will need to be in printed form, but this kind of content also works well in digital form to share on your website and social media platforms.
*Office of National Statistics figures.
**Figure estimated by National Energy Action.