About the Priority Services Register
The Priority Services Register is a free service provided by suppliers and network operators. Each energy supplier and network operator maintains its own register. To get on it, you need to contact your energy supplier.
Who is eligible
You are eligible 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.
What does 'vulnerable situation' mean?
A wide range of circumstances could be deemed as a vulnerable situation. Examples include:
- people with certain mental health conditions which impact understanding of a bill.
- people who cannot top up their pre-payment meter due to injury.
- temporary circumstances, where you might need extra support for a limited amount of time.
Living with children under five years old
You may also be eligible for priority services from your supplier and/or network operator if you live with a child under five years old.
How to get on the register
You need to contact your energy supplier to get on the Priority Services Register. Each energy supplier and network operator maintains its own register.
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 or if you have children under five years old.
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.
You can find your supplier's contact details on your energy bill, or if you don't have this use the services outlined in our guide Who is my gas or electricity supplier?
Help you can get by being on the register
- Advance notice of planned power cuts. If you rely medically on your energy supply you can arrange for the company that runs the local energy network (the network operator) to give you advance notice of planned power cuts. For example, when they plan to carry out engineering work.
- Priority support in an emergency. This could involve the local network operator providing alternative heating and cooking facilities in the event of a 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. This could include 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 who agrees to receive them. For example, this could be a family member, carer or someone you trust.
- 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 nobody living at your property is able to read the meter and there isn’t anyone else you 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.
Suppliers and network operators may also offer you other similar services relevant to your needs, where it is reasonable to do so. Ask them how they can support you.
Similar support services
Suppliers provide free gas safety checks (e.g. for appliances such as a gas boiler) for homeowners. These are available once every 12 months. You are eligible for this service if you get a means-tested benefit and meet one of the following criteria:
- live with a child under five.
- live alone and are of pensionable age, disabled or chronically sick and live alone.
- live with others who are of pensionable age, disabled, chronically sick or under 18 and you are also of pensionable age, disabled or chronically sick.
Contact your supplier to request your free gas safety check if you’re eligible and haven’t had one in the last 12 months.
If you do not own your own home, your landlord is normally responsible for ensuring that your gas appliances are safe. For further information on what you landlord’s obligations are, please see the Health and Safety Executive website.
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.