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Last updated: 14 July 2021
If you find it difficult to manage your energy supply, then the Priority Services Register could be ideal for you. The Priority Services Register is designed to offer help and support for the most vulnerable. Learn about Priority Services Register and how it could benefit you.
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What is the Priority Services Register?
The Priority Services Register is a free service aimed at getting vulnerable customers the extra support they need. It’s devised and managed by Ofgem, but individual energy suppliers provide the services. This means the help you get will be slightly different depending on your energy supplier.
If you are on the Priority Services Register you can expect advanced notice of interruptions to your service and priority during power cuts. Other services will vary so when you compare energy
it’s worth looking at what each supplier offers under the Priority Service Register.
How do I get my Name on the Priority Services Register?
Since 2017 it’s now very easy to get your name on the Priority Services Register. Vulnerability is recognised as temporary circumstances as well as individual characteristics, making it much easier to get the help you need.
You no longer need to supply proof of disability, impairment or age to qualify for the Priority Services Register. Things such as temporary injury, mental health issues, or recovering from surgery now qualify alongside a long-term disability.
If you think you might benefit from the Priority Services Register all you need to do is contact your supplier. They will then work out which services will benefit you.
Who is a Vulnerable Energy Customer?
There is no longer a specific definition of a vulnerable energy customer. This means that you have more chance of getting the help you need, but it can also make it harder to know if you are eligible for priority services.
Some of the main reasons you might qualify for the Priority Services Register include:
- Being of pensionable age.
- Having a disability.
- Needing additional support in some way.
- Having a chronic illness.
- Having a hearing or visual impairment.
- If your wellbeing would suffer from losing energy supply.
- If you care for a child younger than five-years-old.
The broader definition of vulnerability now recognised means that you may be able to get help and support for a range of concerns, whether they are long- or short-term.
How does the Priority Services Register Help Vulnerable Customers?
The services your supplier offers will vary meaning it is always worth comparing priority services to find the best energy deals for your specific needs. Some of the most common services include:
- Advanced notices of planned power cuts.
- Priority service during emergencies, including alternative sources of heating, power and cooking facilities.
- Assistance with billing, including large print, braille, talking bills or sometimes having your bill sent to a nominated person.
- Meter readings, or some suppliers will offer to move your meter to an accessible location.
Suppliers will also have to offer you a cold weather amnesty. This means that your energy connection must be maintained between October and March every year even if you cannot pay your bills.
Can I Switch Energy Supplier if I’m on the Priority Services Register?
It’s easy to switch energy supplier if your name is on the Priority Services Register. Ofgem deliberately made it easy to track Priority Service Register customers through the system when switching but it’s still a good idea to mention it to your new supplier.
If you are on the Priority Services Register and thinking of switching supplier you will not only be looking out for lower prices, but also new benefits. When you compare energy it’s a good idea to check what priority services are available.
Help for Vulnerable Energy Customers
As well as the Priority Services Register there is a lot of other support for vulnerable energy customers.
If you qualify for the Priority Services Register, it’s possible you also qualify for government initiatives to help with the cost of your energy bill. This can help relieve a big burden, especially in the colder months.
You will also be eligible for a free gas safety check without having to register for the Priority Services Register if:
- You live with a child under five-years-old.
- You are of pensionable age.
- You are chronically ill.
- You have a disability.
If you fit one of these categories then it’s worth contacting your supplier to see what they can offer.