Safeguarding Customers Overview

Safeguarding Customers Working Group (SCWG)

This working group brings together Distribution Network Operators (DNOs), Gas Distribution Networks (GDNs), Suppliers as well as non-industry relevant bodies, i.e. Age UK and Citizen’s Advice, for the purpose of delivering Ofgem’s vulnerable customer strategy. The group’s main aim is to look at areas using a co-ordinated approach across the industry to benefit and safeguard customers in vulnerable situations. By understanding a customer’s situation and specific additional requirements, companies are better placed to deliver timely and tailored services which will allow the companies to put the customer at the heart of their businesses. 

Priority Services Register (PSR)

To provide a framework that supports energy industry strategies relating to the safeguarding of customers in vulnerable situations; a common industry approach has been developed called the PSR. It allows us to adopt a standard set of principles to define who should be registered, what data should be recorded and ultimately shared across parties. Over many years there have been a number of different Priority Services Registers (PSRs) which have been developed and created independently by energy companies to meet licence obligations. This has resulted in customers requiring to register across numerous companies and re-register every time they change supplier or move home. In 2014, Ofgem launched a consultation looking into possible improvements to the energy industry’s PSRs. 

Through bringing the energy industry together in an inclusive environment; we have been able to co-ordinate a more standardised and simplified approach towards safeguarding customers. This has allowed the Safeguarding Customers Working Group to create a common set of Needs Codes (which are the categories that allow you to register on to the PSR) which not only meets the current needs of both electricity and gas but also anticipates and supports the future requirements for wider data sharing and supports the Ofgem ambition to deliver equal outcomes to all. These needs codes provide a common language to instigate simplified data sharing and allow us to gain a greater understanding of our customers’ needs so that the industry actions can be adapted to result in consistent positive outcomes. For more information regarding the Needs Codes, please contact [email protected].

The SCWG have created a standard PSR Promise, which will be included in future PSR documentation. A copy of this can be found here.

Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA)

The PIA is intended to support energy companies to capture, record and share sensitive data with the relevant informed consent; following the Information Commissioners Office’s eight data protection principles; these can be found here. As an industry, we take the matter of safeguarding seriously as much as protecting our customer’s data; remembering that customers will only be registered if they choose to opt in. Throughout the PIA process the industry have worked to balance both of these risks and have agreed a common set of Needs Codes which have been reviewed to make sure that it is relevant to share that particular information. The PIA process has been beneficial to help the industry understand the privacy risks associated with recording and sharing sensitive customer data and for the first time, the industry has worked together in a non-competitive environment to understand positive outcomes that they can deliver together to truly safeguard their customers.

SCWG Documentation and Version Controls

To help ensure that Customers, Partners and SCWG members alike, have the confidence that they have access to the latest version of relevant PSR and SCWG documentation/guidance we have at the ENA created a way for you to request the documentation that you would like but also to allow us to keep you up to date should a newer version be published. Through capturing some simple information to allow us to stay in touch, we can proactively support you and ensure the best usage of materials into the future. Documentation that is available includes: PSR Promise, PSR Informed Consent Verbal Principles, PSR Kite mark, PSR Needs Codes, or the Needs Code training and reference matrix, PSR FAQs and the PSR Privacy Impact Assessment. As new documents, best practices and principles are created these will be added and shared.

To register to receive any of these documents please follow this link and complete the simple form. Upon completing this, you will receive an email including some helpful instructions on how best to use the SCWG documentation in the best interests of consistency.

If you have any queries please contact [email protected].