If you’ve reached the State Pension age, have a medical condition, or feel that your health would be affected by a power cut, then you may be able to sign up for the Priority Services Register.
The Priority Services Register is a record that every energy supplier and operator has of customers who may be particularly vulnerable, or rely on their electricity for health reasons.
Being on your supplier or operator’s register will give you access to particular support with your energy meters and bills, and puts you at the top of the queue for help if there are issues with your supply.
Am I eligible for the Priority Services Register?
You are eligible for the Priority Services Register if you:
- Have reached the State Pension Age (currently 66)
- Have a disability or long-term medical condition
- You’re recovering from an injury or have recently come out of hospital
- Would struggle to answer the door or get help in an emergency
- Have a condition that affects your hearing or sight
- Have a mental health condition
- Are pregnant or have a child under five
- Have extra communication needs (such as if you can’t understand English well)
- Have medical equipment that uses a power supply
- Have poor sense of smell
You may still be able to register if you don’t fit the above criteria, so it’s worth getting in touch with your provider anyway to see if they can help.
What help can I get if I’m on the Priority Services Register?
If you are on your network operator’s register (read how to sign up below), you’ll receive advance notice of any planned power cuts, for example in the event of engineering work. This can be particularly useful if you rely on your power supply for health reasons.
You will get priority support when calling your operator, or in the event of an emergency.
You can also request help to make the billing process easier, such as nominating a relative or friend to receive bills and communications from your supplier, or bills in large print or braille if you have difficulty reading them.
You can also get help with your energy meters. If you have trouble reaching your prepayment meter in order to top it up, for example, you can get it moved. You could also request that meter readings are done for you if there is a reason you’re unable to do them yourself.
How do I sign up for the Priority Services Register?
Your energy supplier (the company that you pay for your electricity supply) and network operator (the company that maintains the pipes and wires in your area) have separate registers. If you apply to be on your supplier’s register, request that they pass your details onto your network operator as well. You’ll need to supply your contact information and detail your situation to clarify why you need extra support.
If you have different suppliers for gas and electricity and want to be on the register for both, you’ll need to contact both of them. If you move or switch energy suppliers, you’ll need to re-register as well.
You can find out who your energy supplier or network operator is and how to contact them on Ofgem’s website.
Other forms of support
You can request a free gas safety check from your gas supplier every 12 months if you are in receipt of a means-tested benefit and fall into at least one of the following categories:
- You’re of state pension age
- You’re disabled or chronically ill
- You live with anyone in either of those categories
- You live with a child
If you’re struggling with soaring energy costs, contact your energy provider to see if they can offer any solutions. Read more in our article What can you do if you can’t pay your energy bills? and Energy saving tips: how to reduce your bills.
You may be eligible for some financial support from the government. The government is currently paying a £400 energy grant to every household in the UK from October to March.
An additional £900 payment for people on low incomes and means tested benefits was announced in last year’s Autumn Statement, which will be paid in three instalments from spring. Read more in our article Cost of living payments: who will get the £900 and when will it be paid?
You may also be entitled to the Winter Fuel payment, if you were born on or before 25 September 1955, which is a tax-free amount of between £100 and £300 to help pay bills over the winter. The government will also give an extra £300 to those receiving this benefit, and a further £150 to those receiving disability benefits. Find out more about this and other benefits such as the Warm Home Discount Scheme in our guide Are you eligible for help with heating costs?
If you’re still struggling after exploring all your options, your local council may offer a scheme that can help. Contact your local council to see if you are entitled to The Household Support Fund. You can read more about this in our article The Household Support Fund Explained.
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