The Priority Services Register (PSR) is a free service provided by suppliers and network operators to customers in need. Here we explain the help available to you if you sign up.
Who can sign up to the Priority Services Register?
You can receive the services available if you:
- are of pensionable age
- are disabled or chronically sick
- have a long-term medical condition
- have a hearing or visual impairment or additional communication needs
- are in a vulnerable situation.
Each energy supplier and network operator maintains its own register.
A wide range of circumstances could be deemed vulnerable situations when determining PSR eligibility. Examples include:
- customers with certain mental health conditions which impact on them understanding their bill
- customers who cannot top up their pre-payment meter due to injury
- temporary circumstances where a customer needs extra support for a limited amount of time.
Living with children under five
If you live with a child aged under five, network operators also offer priority services relevant to your needs. You may also be eligible for priority services from your supplier if you live with a child aged under five. Contact them to find out about the services they provide.
Help you can get through the Priority Services Register
If you register as a priority services customer, you may be eligible for free services including:
- Advance notice of planned power cuts. If you are medically reliant on your supply you can arrange for the company that runs your local network (the network operator) to give you advance notice of planned power cuts (for example, where they plan to carry out engineering work).
- Priority support in an emergency. This could involve your local network operator providing alternative heating and cooking facilities in the event of supply interruption.
- Identification scheme. This is to reassure you that callers, for example meter readers, are genuine. Suppliers have to provide additional support to help you identify someone acting on behalf of their company, such as arranging a password or showing an agreed picture card upon visit.
- Password protection. Network operators must offer to agree a password with you (or your representative) that can be used by any representative of the company to enable you to identify them.
- Nominee scheme. Customers can ask their supplier to send communications (such as account statements or bills) to someone you have nominated (for example a family member or carer) who has agreed to receive them.
- Arrangements to ensure that it’s safe and practical for you to use your prepayment meter. For example moving a prepayment meter if you are unable to access it safely to top it up.
- Meter reading services at appropriate intervals. If no person occupying the premises is able to read the meter and there isn’t anyone else that the customer can nominate to read the meter on your behalf, your supplier may be able to read it for you.
- Accessible information. Account and bill information in an accessible format, for example in larger print or braille.
Your supplier or network operator may also offer you other similar services relevant to your needs where it is reasonable to do so.
How to sign up to the Priority Services Register
To be added to the Priority Services Register, you simply need to contact your energy supplier. You can find their contact details on your energy bill, or if you don't have this to hand, see Who is my gas or electricity supplier? You can ask your supplier to pass your details on to your network operator, especially if you are dependent on your supply for medical reasons.
If you have a different supplier for your gas and electricity, you need to contact them both. If you switch supplier, you'll need to register for the service again with them.
Similar support services
Suppliers provide free yearly gas appliance safety checks for homeowners. You are eligible for this service if you:
- are in receipt of a means-tested benefit
- live with a child under five
- are of pensionable age
- are disabled
- are chronically sick
- either live alone or with others who are all of pensionable age, disabled, chronically sick or under 18.
If you do not own your own home, your landlord is responsible for ensuring that any gas appliances, fittings and flues are safe.
Free services similar to the Priority Services Register are available in the water, phone and public transport sectors. Some energy companies and network operators have agreed to work together with water companies to jointly signpost the extra help you can access for water and energy. We’re encouraging all energy companies to do this.
You can find further information and advice on similar services in the Essential services: getting extra help leaflet (PDF). We've produced this with other economic regulators, as part of our role in the UK Regulators Network.