Energy Networks Association launch the Winter Resilience Committee to help protect 6 million vulnerable people across the UK

London, [30 November 2018] – As Britain’s register for vulnerable energy customers exceeds 6 million customers in need for the first time, Energy Networks Association (ENA) today announced the launch of its Winter Resilience Committee.

The number of customers enrolled in the Priority Services Register run by energy network companies, has rocketed to more than six million people, meaning approximately 10% of the British population will need additional support throughout the winter period. People are eligible for priority support if they are of pensionable age; live with a child under five; have a long-term medical condition; are disabled or chronically sick; have a hearing or visual impairment; or are in a vulnerable situation. Anyone concerned about severe weather, and in need of support can find more information about the Priority Services Register here. Working with the Met Office, National Energy Action and Age UK, ENA’s Winter Resilience Committee will focus on protecting those most in need. The Committee has been launched by energy network operators to raise awareness of the Register and to act as a source of advice and information on energy supplies throughout the winter period.

Whether Britain is hit by storms, floods, snow or simply a prolonged cold spell, energy networks are responsible for providing reliable energy to keep the country’s lights on and homes warm. Every network company keeps a list of vulnerable customers and prioritises communication and support for them in extreme weather, providing alternative heat sources, sustenance and shelter where necessary.

The Winter Resilience Committee will publish a dashboard following each named storm, the first of its kind to collate data from every energy network in the United Kingdom. The dashboard will be used as a resource for customers and policymakers to understand how these storms affect the country, and to track the resilience of the British energy networks. A dashboard from the first three storms of the season – Ali, Bronagh and Callum – is included below.

Tony Glover, Chairman of the Committee and ENA’s Director of Policy, said: “As we approach the winter storm season, it is crucial that people know how to prepare and where to turn for support. That includes signing-up to the Priority Service Register, but dialing 105 in the event of a power cut or 0845 111 999 in the event of a gas emergency.

“With a record six million people enrolled on the Priority Services Register, the energy networks are proud to be partnering with Age UK and the NEA to support people in need throughout the winter season. While gas and power interruptions have fallen to record lows, the chance of severe weather interruptions remain and we encourage everyone to know to call 105 in a power cut and the gas emergency number should they be affected.”

Derrick Ryall is the head of the Public Weather Service for the Met Office. He said: “The UK's weather experiences a great deal of natural variation, and in the last three winters we have seen: widespread freezing conditions; and the mildest and wettest December on record since 1910. Increasing public resilience to avoid the worst of winter hazards is vital. The Met Office provides forecasts and warnings for a week ahead, but the public also needs to be sure they can respond should bad weather strike. Severe weather, such as the recent strong winds from storm Diana or the cold from the Beast from the East, can create additional complications for energy networks too. Tracking the resilience of these networks from severe weather will increase greatly increase the understanding of the impacts of these powerful weather events.”

The Winter Resilience Committee will be sharing regular winter safety advice from the energy networks, the Met Office, NEA and Age UK throughout the season, to ensure those most in need are prepared for cold and stormy weather. As we enter December, the Winter Resilience Committee are calling on the public to take these three steps:

Know your free emergency numbers

In a power cut dial 105 or, for a gas emergency, dial 0800 111 999.

Prepare your home

Keep a torch handy and get your appliances serviced by a Gas Safe registered engineer to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.

Keep your eyes open

Keep an eye on the weather forecast and, if you have a power cut or a gas emergency, check on your neighbours. 

Maria Wardrobe, Director of Communications and External Relations at National Energy Action (NEA) said: “NEA is delighted to collaborate with the ENA’s Winter Resilience Committee during the charity’s annual Warm and Safe Homes Campaign. We share a commitment to ensure that those vulnerable to the cold get the right advice and information. Together we have produced a Warm and Safe Homes Action Guide which will be invaluable to anyone working to help people this winter”

The Warm and Safe Homes Action Guide can be downloaded here.

 

- Ends -

For further information please contact:

Energy Networks Association

Edward Gill

UK & European Head of Press and Public Affairs

Email: [email protected]

Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7706 5157

 

Peter Kocen

Senior Press and Public Affairs Manager

Email: [email protected]

Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7706 5118

 

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Notes to editors

 

ENA represents the companies that operate and maintain the gas and electricity grid network in the UK and Ireland. Serving over 30 million customers, they are responsible for the transmission and distribution network of “wires and pipes” that keep our lights on, our homes warm and our businesses running. More information can be found on www.energynetworks.org.

National Energy Action (NEA) is the national charity which aims to eradicate fuel poverty and campaigns for greater investment in energy efficiency to help those who are poor and vulnerable. We work across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and with our sister charity Energy Action Scotland, to ensure that everyone can afford to live in a warm, dry home. For more information go to www.nea.org.uk

The Priority Services Register is a free service provided by suppliers and network operators to customers in need. You can receive the services available if you:

  • are of pensionable age
  • live with a child under five
  • are disabled or chronically sick
  • have a long-term medical condition
  • have a hearing or visual impairment or additional communication needs
  • are in a vulnerable situation.

More information on the Priority Services Register is available here.