Sometimes we all need a little helping hand, but did you know you can get extra help from your energy supplier if you need it…
All energy suppliers in Ireland manage have a ‘Special Services Register’ which ensures priority and vulnerable customers can access additional support that they may need.
Priority customers are those who may be at risk due to an interruption of their electricity or gas supply because they rely on life-supporting equipment for day to day care. This could include oxygen concentrators, electric chairlift, home dialysis or even vital medicines that require refrigeration.
‘Special Service Registers’ are there to help vulnerable customers who may be elderly, visually impaired, hearing impaired, have a long term medical condition, are chronically sick or for some other reason are deemed vulnerable.
Special Services Register – what support is available?
Each supplier has their own ‘Special Services Register’ so the actual support on offer will vary. However, support will generally include things such as…
- Password protection scheme: to provide reassurance that callers are genuine.
- Bill nominee scheme: Bills and other communications can be copied to a family member or carer.
- Special controls and adaptors: for electrical and gas appliances.
- Help with metering: If your meter is difficult to access it could be moved to an easier to reach place.
- Help with bills: Bills can be supplied in large print, braille or talking bills to help access this information
- Energy Efficiency Advice: information on the efficient use of electricity and gas appliances.
Priority Services Register – what support is available?
Details of customers who register with the ‘Priority Services Register’ will be sent by their energy supplier to either ESB Networks or Gas Networks Ireland for inclusion on the industry register. This will mean that customers who are particularly vulnerable from an electricity or gas supply interruption are identified and supported. So, for example, a few of the support measures in place include…
- Disconnection: ESB Networks or Gas Networks Ireland will not disconnect your supply during winter months (1st November to 31st March), unless for safety reasons.
- Disruption: You will be contacted in advance of any planned outage or disruption to supply.
- Reconnection If there is an outage of failure in supply you will be dealt with as a priority for reconnection.
Who can register for support?
Priority customers are those that rely on life-supporting equipment for day to day care. In terms of vulnerability there are no strict terms or criteria…and indeed vulnerability can emerge or change over time. So, if extra support would make your life easier then it makes sense to sign up to your energy suppliers’ ‘Special Services Register’. Suppliers may ask for further detail in terms of any health issue or vulnerability – this will help them agree with you what support is most appropriate.
How do I register for support?
Each energy supplier has a Code of Practice regarding vulnerable customers, and different ways to register. Signing up is free and its often easiest to register when you sign-up. However, to be added to the Special Services Register, you simply need to contact your energy supplier by phone or email. Some suppliers have an application form on their website which you can complete and return.
So remember ‘Special Service Registers’ and ‘Priority Service Registers’ are there to make sure you as a customer get all the help and support you need. It can also help provide peace of mind that if there is any disruption to supply your needs will be prioritised. If you, or someone you know, would benefit from the extra support then it makes sense to get registered and benefit from the help on offer.