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Winter emergency calls increase by 100%

Independent heating company, Swale Heating, based in Sittingbourne, Kent, has reported a 100 per cent increase in emergency calls this winter.

The company has a staff of 419 and covers South East England, operating a 24-hour call centre.

It is gearing up for more action, with low temperatures and possible snow forecast in February likely to result in more emergency calls from householders.

Matthew Edwards, sales director, said: “Although we have more heating engineers on the road in Kent than any other company, they have been kept in constant demand.

“One of our engineers even spent his New Year’s Eve at an emergency call to fix a boiler for a couple; the wife suffers from emphysema, so the work was absolutely essential.”

The company received nearly 58,000 calls towards the end of last year, compared with 28,640 for the same period in 2009.

Mr Edwards described the figure as “extraordinarily high and could be partly due to the current economic climate as well as the cold weather.

“We are noticing that more people are putting off boiler contract servicing to save money. However, this is a false economy because delay can cause even greater problems and costs.

“Boilers are usually in constant use throughout the year, but are often forgotten until they break down causing a lot of inconvenience, especially when it’s cold.

“And poorly serviced gas appliances can be deadly. For peace of mind, we recommend a maintenance contract that includes an annual service.”