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Energy network companies, Citizens Advice and National Energy Action urge vulnerable customers to sign up for extra help this winter

16 November 2022

Press contacts for journalists

Philip Baker

Media Relations Manager

press@energynetworks.org

ENA Press Office

press@energynetworks.org

As winter weather approaches, Energy Networks Association (ENA) has joined forces with Citizens Advice and National Energy Action (NEA) to encourage all energy customers, who may need extra assistance if winter storms interrupt their power supplies, to sign-up for the Priority Services Register (PSR).

The PSR provides elderly and disabled customers and those with long-term medical conditions with extra help in the event of planned engineering work, routine faults or storms interrupting supplies, please see below for the full list of benefits. Though the service cannot exempt properties from potential power cuts, it aims to provide extra information and support to those who need it.

The drive to get customers to sign-up is part of ENA’s latest campaign to encourage people to prepare for winter. The ‘Prepare, Care and Share’ campaign promotes the uptake of the PSR, while also reminding customers of the emergency electricity (105) and gas numbers (0800 111 999) in Great Britain.

This follows a similar campaign last year, which successfully encouraged vulnerable customers to sign up to the PSR. ENA wants to make sure everyone who is eligible receives the benefits which the PSR offers.

It is easy and free to sign-up, all customers need do is call their electricity network company. Customers can find out which network company supplies them by visiting powercut105.com.

Ross Easton, Director of External Affairs at Energy Networks Association (ENA) which represents the UK’s energy network operators said:

“While it is always difficult anticipating Britain’s weather, there is one easy step to take for customers who are eligible for extra help with their power supplies – signing up for their local network operator’s Priority Services Register.

“We are very grateful for the support of Citizens Advice and National Energy Action in encouraging customers to register. We would urge anyone who knows someone who might be eligible to share this information and encourage people to sign-up to the PSR today.”

Gillian Cooper, Head of Energy Policy for Citizens Advice, said:

“If you’re not on the Priority Services Register, you could miss out on support you’re entitled to. As we head into winter, check if you’re eligible and register if you can. Even if you’re not eligible for this one, there may be other support you can get. Have a look at the Citizens Advice website for more information or give us a call to talk through your options.”

Adam Scorer, chief executive of National Energy Action, said:

“The Priority Services Register provides some vital peace of mind for those who are particularly vulnerable to disrupted energy supply. Winter is the worst time to be without power, so if you or someone in your family qualify because of age, a medical condition or have young children at home, contact your network company to check if you should be on the Priority Services Register.”

Neil Lawrence, Director of Retail at Ofgem, said:

“We know this is going to be a tougher winter than usual for a lot of people, so it’s vital that customers get all the support available for them. That’s why, as we head into the colder months, we want to urge people to check with their supplier whether they may benefit from services available through the Priority Services Register - we know that not everyone eligible is currently benefitting. This can help with everything from tailored customer care, benefit checks, more accessible formats for energy bills, more frequent meter reading and free gas safety checks. Suppliers should also be proactive and reach out to vulnerable customers wherever possible, and it’s great to see this happening in places already.”

The benefits the PSR provides include:

  • Advance notice of engineering work: If you rely on your energy supply for medical purposes, your network operator will tell you about engineering work which could result in a power cut
  • Priority support in a prolonged power cut: Gas network operators can provide heating and cooking facilities if your supply is cut off from storms bringing down power lines
  • Identification and password scheme: This could include arranging a password if callers need to visit or contact you, so you can feel confident it is a legitimate approach
  • Nominee scheme: You can nominate a family member, carer, or another person to receive communications and bills from your supplier
  • Help with prepayment meter access: For example, moving a meter if you can’t safely get to it
  • Regular meter reading services if you’re not able to read your meter
  • Accessible information, including receiving account information and bills in large print or braille
  • A dedicated call line for Priority Services Register customers   

A range of customers are eligible for membership, including pensioners and people who are disabled or who have a long-term medical condition, including sight and mental health problems.

Notes to editor

Notes to editors:

  • Citizens Advice is the statutory consumer advocate for energy and postal markets. They provide supplier performance information to consumers and policy analysis to decision makers.
  • You can get consumer advice from the Citizens Advice consumer service on 0808 223 1133 or 0808 223 1144 for Welsh language speakers.
  • For advice on getting help with your energy bills from National Energy Action, please visit nea.org.uk/get-help/
  • Visit ofgem.gov.uk/EnergyAware: Ofgem’s one stop shop for help, support, advice and template letters for all consumers 

About Energy Networks Association

Energy Networks Association (ENA) is the industry body representing the companies which operate the electricity wires, gas pipes and energy system in the UK and Ireland.

ENA helps its members meet the challenge of delivering electricity and gas to communities across the UK and Ireland safely, sustainably and reliably.

Its members include every major electricity and gas network operator in the UK and Ireland, independent operators, National Grid ESO which operates the electricity system in Great Britain and National Grid Gas which operates the gas system in Great Britain. Its affiliate membership also includes companies with an interest in energy, including Heathrow Airport and Network Rail.

What are energy network operators?

Energy network operators manage and maintain the wires, pipes and other infrastructure which delivers electricity and gas to your home, business and community. They are private companies which are regulated by Ofgem and employ around 45,000 people in the UK and Ireland. They are represented by their industry body, Energy Networks Association (that's us).

Press contacts for journalists

Philip Baker

Media Relations Manager

press@energynetworks.org

ENA Press Office

press@energynetworks.org