United front by utilities to help vulnerable customers

By Jamie Hill - 24 June 2020

CharitySocial Enterprise

People who need extra help during a water, electricity or gas emergency will benefit from a new partnership approach by 10 utility companies.

They have created a joint video to promote the Priority Services Register, a service that all utilities provide for people needing extra support for a variety of reasons.

You can view the video here

The companies involved are all members of the Utility Networks Partnership and are already working closely together to help customers living in vulnerable circumstances.

They are Affinity Water, Anglian Water, Northumbrian Water, Essex and Suffolk Water, SES Water, SGN, South East Water, Southern Water, Thames Water and UK Power Networks.

Andy Clowes, Head of Customer Insight and Strategy, South East Water said: “Taking care of our customers is at the heart of everything we do.

“That’s why across the utility sector we have come together to make the Priority Services Register even easier to use, giving our customers extra support when they need it most. It’s completely free of charge and it’s simple to sign up.”

Kerry Potter, UK Power Networks’ consumer vulnerability manager, who chairs the Utility Networks Partnership, said: “It’s fantastic to work as a team to create a new video promoting the Priority Services Register which is making it easier for eligible people to get support. When nine utility companies share a consistent message, we can help far more people.

“Collaboration is key to tackling vulnerability and our utility networks group work together to provide consistent services for vulnerable customers in the regions we serve.”

Peter Cotton, customer experience manager at Thames Water, said: “We provide an essential service and it’s really important we’re able to provide extra support for customers in vulnerable circumstances in the communities we serve.

“This helpful video highlights the benefits of signing up to our free Priority Services Register, if you have special requirements, such as being medically reliant on water or have mobility issues. This means we can give our customers the help and support they need, should their water supply ever be interrupted.”

Thirty-five charity partners have helped develop the video to increase awareness about the free help available from utilities in the event of a gas, water or electricity outage.

The Priority Services Register is available to customers who:

  • Rely on medical equipment
  • Have refrigerated medicines
  • Are living with a serious or chronic illness
  • Have a disability or have communication needs
  • Are living with dementia
  • Are of pensionable age
  • Have children under five in the home
  • Need extra support for a short time due to life changing events like bereavement.

Customers are being encouraged to register now to make sure that, in the event of an unexpected emergency, they can benefit from free services from their utilities, such as providing tailored support like alternative cooking facilities, hot meals or bottled water.

Andy added: “The information can be given in different ways including over the phone. We even have a password scheme to protect customers from scammers or permission can be given to deal with someone else such as a family member or carer.

“We are all helping to give our customers a little extra support and peace of mind, keeping those lifelines flowing, whatever the circumstances, whatever the weather.”

Find out more or register by contacting UK Power Networks www.ukpowernetworks.co.uk/priority, 0800 169 9970 psr@ukpowernetworks.co.uk.

More information on Thames Water’s priority services register can be viewed here: https://www.thameswater.co.uk/help/extra-care

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