Every energy supplier must keep a register of vulnerable customers and offer these customers additional services, free of charge.
This register is officially known as a Priority Services Register (PSR), although some suppliers use different brand names. Because electricity and gas are considered as essential utilities, this requirement is placed on suppliers as a fundamental licence condition. OFGEM monitors the operation of PSRs and how suppliers help their vulnerable customers in general.
You will be eligible for this if any one of the following applies to you:
The easiest way to be added to energy supplier’s PSR is to phone them. Being on the PSR allows you to choose from a selection of services:
Your supplier can give you a personal password to use every time they visit your home. This protects against bogus callers.
If you have difficulty in reading a meter, the supplier can arrange for meters to be read every quarter and for bills to be issued based on these readings. Alternatively, they can prioritise you for a smart meter installation.
If you find it difficult to reach a prepayment meter to top up, or cannot reach the gas safety lever, the supplier will consider moving the meter, free of charge, to a better position. Alternatively, they can prioritise you for a smart meter installation: these are topped up remotely, so you don’t need to reach a smart meter to insert a key or card.
If you have difficulty using gas or electricity appliances, your supplier may provide help by fitting special controls and adaptors e.g. special plugs, control handles.
Suppliers must provide bills and other information in a format suitable for customers. They will normally offer bills in Braille, in large print, on CD or on audio cassette; suppliers can be contacted by textphone or minicom. They must also put in place measures so all customers can make enquiries or complaints. For an introduction in British Sign Language (BSL) to the Priority Services Register, please watch this video(
Bills (or copies of bills) can be sent to a friend, relative or carer (at your address or at another address). Suppliers should arrange this on request.
If you are on the PSR and there is a power cut or the gas supply is interrupted, you will be given priority for re-connection.
The electricity supplier will give you advance notice if the electricity supply has to be interrupted for planned work. If you rely on electricity to power vital medical or other equipment at home (e.g. a kidney dialysis machine, heart/lung machine, ventilator, nebuliser, apnoea monitor, bath hoist or stair lift), this notice allows you and your household to make any necessary arrangements.
The following two services are available only if ALL adults in your household are eligible for the Priority Service Register.
This free annual check is designed for owner occupiers and private tenants. If you rent from a local authority, housing association or housing co-operative, your social landlord will carry out the safety check instead.
If your household gas supply has been disrupted or turned off for safety reasons, the gas transporter will provide your household with alternative cooking and heating facilities.
For an excellent guide to what individual suppliers offer, please visit Uswitch here