Vulnerable Energy Customers

This guide is designed to provide essential information to those who are elderly, disabled, chronically sick, or have special needs, helping them understand the extra services and protections they are entitled to from their energy suppliers. From the Priority Services Register to the obligations of suppliers, this guide covers a range of topics to ensure that vulnerable customers are well-informed about their rights and the assistance available to them. Whether you're a customer seeking advice, or a caregiver looking for information, this guide will help you navigate the energy market with confidence and ease.

What is the Priority Services Register?

The Priority Services Register is a register of customers who are disabled, chronically sick or of pensionable age. Your energy suppliers maintain the register. Being on the register entitles you to receive certain benefits such as a free safety check of your gas appliances every year and advanced notice of any planned interruptions to your electricity supply. The latter will be very important if you use medical equipment in your home. Being on the Priority Services Register also means that you may enjoy special protection from disconnection in the event of a billing dispute. Contact your local gas and electricity supplier if you think that you or a person you care for at the supply address should be on the Register.

I have special needs. Will my new supplier provide the services I require?

All suppliers have obligations in relation to the way in which they deal with elderly, disabled and chronically ill customers. They must also provide facilities to assist blind, partially sighted, deaf and hearing-impaired customers. This applies equally to both your new and your existing supplier. To obtain additional help you need to register with your gas supplier's and your electricity supplier's Priority Service Register.

What information do energy suppliers need about me?

Energy suppliers are required to keep a record of customers who are of pensionable age, disabled or chronically ill. If you fall into one of these categories, it is important that you tell your supplier of your status. This will allow your supplier to identify your special needs and give you advice and assistance. For example, the supplier might, with your consent, pass this information onto the distribution company that maintains the cables, wires and pipes that supply gas and electricity into your home. This will allow the distribution company to notify you well in advance of a planned supply interruption.

What sort of additional help is available?

For qualifying individuals, additional help might include obtaining special arrangements with respect to the use and positioning of meters, additional security measures associated with identifying anyone working for the supplier who enters the customer's home, and with respect to where utility bills are sent. Also, vulnerable customers with outstanding energy bills cannot be disconnected during the winter months.

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