It is a system designed and overseen by Ofgem (gas and electricity) and Ofwat (water) to ensure that individuals with special requirements have access to additional support from their energy and water suppliers. All major suppliers are obliged to provide this.
What help is available through the Priority Services Register?
As a priority services customer you or your loved one may be eligible for a range of free services. The services available will vary slightly between suppliers but will usually include:
- Advanced notice of planned power cuts – if you are medically reliant on your gas, electricity or water supply, for example you rely on the use of an oxygen concentrator, then you can arrange for the company that runs your local network (the network operator) to give you advance notice of planned power outages, for example when there are scheduled engineering works).
- Priority support in an emergency – if you or your loved one will be adversely affected by an unexpected interruption in supply your local network operator should provide emergency support, such as alternative heating and cooking facilities.
- Identification scheme – this is to reassure customers that people who may call at their house, such as meter readers, are genuine. Suppliers should provide additional support to help customers identify someone acting on behalf of their company, for example arranging the showing of an agreed picture card upon visit.
- Nominee scheme – this allows a customer to arrange for communications such as account statements or bills to be sent to a nominated person, for example a family member or carer.
- Meter reading services – if no one at the property is able to read the meter your supplier may be able to read it for you. If you are unable to read the meter, or top up your prepayment meter, due to its location and accessibility issues, your supplier should make arrangements to relocate the meter where possible.
- Accessible information – your supplier should send you information about your account in an accessible format suitable for your specific needs. For example in a larger print or braille.
- A household emergency pack – some suppliers may send customers a useful pack to help in case of power cuts. This could include a torch with a handy charger that can be used in case of emergency.
Who can sign up for the Priority Services Register?
- Are of pensionable age
- 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
The effects of a brain injury may qualify a person for the PSR under one or more of the above criteria.
In October 2016 Ofgem announced that it would be extending the availability of the PSR to customers in ‘vulnerable situations’. A wide range of circumstances could be deemed vulnerable situations when determining PSR eligibility. Examples include customers with certain cognitive or mental health difficulties which impact on them understanding their bill, or temporary circumstances where a customer needs extra support for a limited amount of time. For example, during the first few months following discharge from hospital after a brain injury.
How do I sign up?
To be added to the Priority Services Register you should contact your energy and water supplier. If you have a different supplier for your gas and electricity you will need to register separately with both. If you switch suppliers make sure to notify your new supplier that you are on the PSR.
If you’re unsure who your supplier is visit:Back