Power partnership helps medically-dependent customers

A new partnership between the UK’s biggest electricity distributor and Smart Energy GB is helping ease the stress of a potential power cut for medically-dependent customers.

UK Power Networks worked with the national campaign to promote smart meters and explain the benefits of having one installed for customers in vulnerable circumstances.

Research conducted by UK Power Networks found that three quarters of medically-dependent customers were unaware of the advantages of having a smart meter during a power cut and how having one could make them less anxious about experiencing an outage.

Smart meters tell UK Power Networks if a customer is off-supply without them needing to make any contact and in turn, the company can automatically alert the customer and their support contacts.

The information they provide allows UK Power Networks to proactively confirm if a power cut is network-related or an issue with the customer’s or supplier’s equipment, without the customer needing to do anything, alleviating much of the stress a power cut can cause.

Smart meters are the next generation of digital gas and electricity meters, providing automatic meter readings and near-real time energy use information for households and small businesses.

Smart Energy GB and UK Power Networks co-designed tailored messages explaining this benefit of the technology and as a result more than two thirds of medically-dependent customers said they would now consider installing a smart meter.

Most common medical equipment has back-up power to cover short-term outages, which allows enough time to turn off power and complete any smart meter installation.

Ian Cameron, Head of Customer Service and Innovation, says: “It is important for us to identify and reach the customers most in need of our targeted support so it is easier for them to receive help.

“Customers who are medically-dependent on electricity are amongst those of highest risk during a power cut and it is vital to reduce their potential levels of stress during any outage, an increased take-up of smart meters is helping to achieve that in partnership with Smart Energy GB.

“Support has to evolve, and we constantly look at what has changed for our customers so that we can continue to adapt and make a real difference to people’s lives.”

Phillippa Brown, Deputy Director of Specialist Audiences at Smart Energy GB, comments: “Smart meters automatically flag disruption to your energy supply to UK Power Networks, meaning there’s one less thing to think about if a situation occurs. This can be extremely helpful for vulnerable or medically-dependent people, alongside other benefits such as automatic meter readings and better visibility of your energy use via a handy in-home display.

“The partnership between Smart Energy GB and UK Power Networks continues to help more people to understand the positive impact smart meters can have.”

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