OFTEC has teamed up with Age UK, the UK’s largest charity for older people, to provide a free guide, offering key advice to help older people using oil to stay safe and warm throughout the remainder of the winter period.
Excess winter deaths are affecting more and more people in the UK as energy costs continue to rise, with the elderly particularly at risk. Latest figures from the Office of National Statistics show that winter deaths increased by 29% in 2012-13 to 31,100 and 28,500 of these were aged over 65.
The new winter information guide includes money saving tips, advice on energy efficiency and oil tank security, heating payments and schemes for the elderly, useful phone numbers and general guidance on staying warm.
Malcolm Farrow, of OFTEC, said: “We’re delighted to work with Age UK on this important project to support older people who live in rural areas and use oil heating. The majority of the one million UK households using oil are located in rural areas off the mains gas supply and these properties tend to be older and poorly insulated, making them harder to heat.
“According to Age UK, a higher proportion of over-65s live in the countryside than in urban areas, so we feel it’s vital to provide the elderly with as much information as possible to help them save money and keep warm through the coldest part of the year.”
Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, said: “Many of the poorest and most vulnerable older people live in rural areas and rely on oil heating to keep warm. But with high numbers of older households struggling to afford the fuel they need, it’s essential that people know what they can do to keep their fuel bills low and stay warm and well over the winter months.
“We are pleased to be working with OFTEC to provide information specifically aimed at those who heat their homes via oil-fired central heating systems.”
Malcolm added: “We want to help as many people as possible save money on oil and have made this information available online through the Oilsave website. However, we were very aware that this may not be reaching the most vulnerable group, the elderly, which is why we’ve worked with Age UK to produce the new printed guide.”
Anyone can order a copy of the winter heating guide, free of charge, by calling OFTEC on Freephone number: 0800 023 62 11. Alternatively, a digital copy is available to download at: www.oftec.org/consumers/keeping-warm-saving-money