Sign up for help with your energy needs

Published: Thursday 29th January 15

Wandsworth residents are being urged to find out if they are eligible for free extra support from their energy suppliers.

A gas flameThe council is keen to ensure that the borough’s more vulnerable residents get all the help they can to make heating and powering their homes easier by signing up to a priority services register.

All energy companies are required to provide a priority services register, to offer additional help to vulnerable people when dealing with their energy suppliers.  

There is a single free register for electricity companies, which is run by the UK Power Networks. You can register online at www.ukpowernetworks.co.uk/priority or telephone 0800 31 63 105 or 0333 32 32 105 from a mobile. UK Power Networks may not necessarily be able to restore your power more quickly, but you will get a priority phone number that you can call 24 hours a day, regular text or phone updates during the outage, an information pack and extra support from the British Red Cross.

Most of the main gas companies also have their own priority service registers for their customers. You will need to contact your gas company separately to register as a priority service customer with them.

If you, or someone you know, are a pensioner, have long-term ill health, are registered disabled or have a hearing or visual impairment, contact your relevant energy supplier to find out how they can support you. Please note that different energy companies may have slightly different eligibility requirements so if you are unsure please contact them directly.

The benefits of registering with the priority services register may include:

  • priority reconnection if your supply is interrupted and advance notice if they have to stop your supply
  • a service more tailored to your needs. For example, you can ask to have your bills and meter readings in Braille, large type or audio tape
  • moving your meter free of charge to make it easier for you to access
  • having controls or adaptors provided to make your meter or appliances easier to use
  • free quarterly meter readings if you tell your supplier you can’t read it yourself
  • alternative facilities for cooking and heating if your energy supply is interrupted
  • additional protection from bogus callers with a password protection scheme
  • arranging for your bills to be sent or copied to someone else, such as a carer, who can help you read and check them
  • free advice and information about the services available if you need extra support because of your age, disability or chronic illness.

The council’s health and social care spokesman, Cllr Jim Maddan, said:

“We would urge anyone who thinks that they, or someone they know, is eligible to get themselves signed up for these free schemes. We want to ensure that our vulnerable residents get as much support as possible – especially during the cold winter months.”

This winter the council has been working with partners in the community to support vulnerable people to keep warm and well. If you are concerned about keeping warm or worried about anyone you know contact WHARF (Wandsworth Housing Adaptations and Repairs Forum) for advice and signposting to other services that can help. Call (020) 8871 7458 or email wharf@wandsworth.gov.uk.  

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