Angus MacDonald MSP visits Calor’s Grangemouth HQ with Transport Minister Keith Brown
Friday, 28 October 2011 10:22
Heating fuel advice for off-grid homes & businesses as winter approaches
Calor Gas has plans in place ready for this year’s winter
Falkirk East MSP Angus MacDonald joined Scottish Government Transport Minister, Keith Brown MSP, today as they visited Calor’s customer operations centre at its Grangemouth depot to hear how the company is actively preparing to keep its customers supplied with fuel during the coming winter months.
The visit was organised as part of the Scottish Government’s ‘Ready for Winter week’ [24-28 October]. Calor is dependent on the road network to deliver LPG fuel to its customers. The Minister’s visit was organised to enable him to see first-hand Calor’s winter preparations and investment in its distribution system.
During last year’s severe weather, Calor drivers worked tirelessly to deliver bulk and bottled LPG to tens of thousands of customers across the Scottish mainland and islands. Driver hours were extended by Government so that the company could literally work around the clock over Christmas and New Year in order to maintain fuel supplies despite treacherous weather and road conditions.
Calor customers tend to be located in rural communities and accessed off the main road network via country lanes which are not normally prioritised for gritting or snow clearance. In 2010/11, with many rural areas virtually cut off by the snow, Calor had to prioritise elderly and vulnerable customers, whose fuel levels were running dangerously close to empty in some cases. There was no shortfall in gas supply - Calor often simply couldn’t deliver LPG due to the road conditions.
Ahead of this winter the company is working with local authorities and Transport Scotland to ensure that rural roads are included in gritting and snow clearance plans so that off-grid consumers can be accessed during severe weather. Calor is committed to working in partnership with the authorities to achieve this.
Speaking at Calor’s customer operations centre, which controls all Calor supplies in Scotland Falkirk East MSP Angus MacDonald said today:
“I’m extremely encouraged by the preparation and investment Calor Gas has taken to ensure deliver of their products to customers during the winter period, particularly the delivery of bulk and bottled LPG, should we again experience severe winter weather. I have had discussions with the Transport Minister Keith Brown who has assured me that every step will be taken by the Scottish Government to ensure main routes to and from Grangemouth are open to ensure delivery of fuel to all areas of Scotland, should we experience similar conditions to last year.
“I was delighted to visit the Calor Gas distribution site today with the Transport Minister and look forward to continued positive dialogue with Calor Gas in the future.”
Minister for Housing and Transport, Keith Brown said: "There is advice on our ready for winter website on the small but sensible steps people can take now to help cope if extreme weather hits their community. The Scottish Government in partnership with industry has put in place a number of key energy resilience initiatives to get ‘ready for winter’, for instance a Vulnerable Persons and Customer Framework is being developed to help councils and key fuel suppliers deliver services to our most vulnerable people in the event of severe winter weather. I welcome this opportunity see at first hand the resilience measures Calor Gas are putting in place for LPG customers across Scotland. Thinking ahead and being prepared for winter at home, for using the car and within local communities is something everyone can do easily."
Stephen Rennie, Managing Director of Calor Gas UK said: “We have everything in place in order to meet any increased demand from our customers. There is no shortfall in supply, and if Scotland experiences another winter similar to the last two years, our drivers are prepared to work around the clock again to keep our customers supplied. We will partner with the Government and local authorities to identify those in acute need. Although the road conditions last year presented us with a real struggle, we are confident, given our preparation and co-operation with the Scottish Government, that we are better placed than ever to handle whatever the weather can throw at us this winter.”
The Scottish Government’s ‘winter week’ is a welcome initiative and we will be communicating with our customers over the next few weeks to ensure that these messages are understood. The Minister is acutely aware of our concerns and it was a pleasure to show him our operation centre in Grangemouth from which we coordinate our distribution network.”