A NORTHUMBERLAND-BASED fuel company is gearing up to ensure that customers will not be left out in the cold this winter.
After the treacherous weather conditions of last year, Rix Petroleum (North East) Ltd has invested thousands of pounds to equip its fleet of tankers with winter tyres designed to offer maximum grip and safety in freezing temperatures.
The tyres are made from a compound which has been specifically engineered to work at temperatures below seven degrees centigrade and have a special tread pattern to perform well in icy conditions.
The business — based at Rashercap, Felton — delivers residential heating oil to households across the county and North East, including some of the most isolated parts of the region.
As well as new tyres, it has also invested in show chains which drivers can put on their tankers if the weather deteriorates while they are out on the road.
Tim Claxton, Manager of Rix Petroleum’s Morpeth depot, said: “We are keen to ensure that we are fully prepared for the winter, no matter what it has to throw at us.
“We generally adhere to the ‘hope for the best but prepare for the worst’ philosophy in an effort to do our bit for our customers.
“Last year took everyone by surprise — the weather was unprecedented. We expect a bit of snow every year but we didn’t expect it to go on for weeks.
“Although during that time we didn’t miss an order, we feel this is an excellent move to help our customers and our drivers get through what could be another challenging winter.”
The company is also urging home owners to help themselves by ensuring they order early to avoid panic buying. Residents should allow a couple of extra days for delivery in poor weather conditions.
“By ordering early and keeping a close eye on how much oil they have left, people can really help themselves to ensure they don’t run low when they need it most,” added Mr Claxton.
“This is particularly important for more vulnerable groups such as the elderly, for whom being without power and heat is a very serious problem.”