Residents risk missing out on free emergency support

Caring power workers are urging people to check if they or someone they know can join UK Power Networks’ Priority Services Register.

Residents across London, the East of England the South East risk missing out on free support from the Priority Services Register in electricity emergencies, according to data from UK Power Networks.

Under-represented areas on the company’s Priority Services Register include Camden, Cambridge and Elmbridge, where 42%, 50% and 55% of eligible households are registered. Although take-up has been strong in most areas, with almost two million households already registered, the company wants to make sure everyone has access to the free help available.

London boroughs: % eligible households PSR-registered East of England: % eligible households PSR-registered South East: % eligible households PSR-registered
Westminster 30.4% Cambridge 49.5% Elmbridge 55.1%
Kensington and Chelsea 31.2% Watford 54.3% Woking 55.3%
Hammersmith and Fulham 41.7% St Albans 55.2% Mole Valley 57.8%
Tower Hamlets 42.1% North Norfolk 57.2 % Tunbridge Wells 59.4%
Camden 42.4% Bedford 57.6% Brighton and Hove 59.9%
Wandsworth 44.1% Ipswich 58% Worthing 60.1%
Southwark 45.8% Peterborough 58.2% Epsom and Ewell 60.3%
Hackney 45.9% Kings Lynn and West Norfolk 58.2% Mid Sussex 60.3%
Lambeth 47% Huntingdonshire 58.3% Reigate and Banstead 61.3%
Brent 48.4% Chelmsford 58.4% Tandridge 61.6%
Waltham Forest 48.8%   Wealden 62.5%

Those most likely to miss out include families with children under five, households who cannot communicate easily in English, those of pensionable age and people with mental health conditions.

Giulia Privitera, social sustainability manager at UK Power Networks, says: “Emergencies on the electricity network do not happen often, but we know they can be an especially worrying time for households in vulnerable circumstances, whether they are ongoing or temporary situations that need a little bit of extra help. The register allows us to direct support where it’s needed.

“Joining the register does not always mean we can restore electricity supplies quicker but helps us target updates and offer additional support if needed, so people can plan their lives while our engineers work on the issue. We can also put them in touch with an expert who can offer free independent advice on energy if they are worried about paying their fuel bills or need help to keep their home warm this winter.

“Our message to people across London, the South East and East of England is that helping someone you care about join the register takes minutes. Being without power can be cold, uncomfortable and isolating and all of us can take an easy step to help our friends and neighbours, family and loved ones before they find themselves in this situation.”

In the past year, users of the Priority Services Register gave UK Power Networks’ service a 94% customer satisfaction rating and the company has spent around £40,000 on meals and hotel stays provided to registered households. The independent energy advice and support UK Power Networks provide to their customers in collaboration with community partners has saved up to £8.4 million over one year alone.

Over 65s, families with children under five, those who rely on medical equipment or with a disability, people who are hearing, sight or speech impaired, patients leaving hospital and people with any physical or mental health condition are all entitled to join the register.

The company provides bespoke vulnerability training for its customer service team so they know how best to respond to a variety of different needs. The company has also partnered with experts like Scope and AgilityEco to expand the range of tailored support services available via helplines to anyone eligible for Priority Register Services who also need extra help to manage their energy bills and to keep their home warm.

Water companies also provide free extra support to vulnerable households and UK Power Networks is urging residents to register with them at the same time.

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