North East Lib Dem MSP Alison McInnes has joined an Ofgem drive to increase the take-up of free services available from energy suppliers.
These services are available to vulnerable people who sign up to the Priority Service Register.
The register is a list of domestic customers who are of pensionable age, disabled or chronically sick. Each energy supplier is required to have their own register and to provide free help to people who add themselves, or are referred, to their list.
Services available to register customers include:
• Advance notice of planned power cuts for customers who depend on their energy supply for medical reasons.
• Password protection scheme to provide reassurance that callers, for example meter readers, are genuine.
• Bill nominee scheme – customers can ask their supplier to send their bill to anybody, for example a family member or carer, who has agreed to receive it.
• Prepayment meters – if a customer is unable to bend down or reach to their prepayment meter they can asked for it to be moved.
• Accessible information – suppliers can provide customers with account and bill information in an accessible format, e.g. larger print or braille.
• Free annual gas appliance safety checks for home owners. Or, a landlord is responsible for ensuring that any gas appliances, fittings and flues are safe.
Suppliers are prohibited from disconnecting a premises occupied by a customer eligible for the register during the winter months (October 1 to March 31).
Mrs McInnes said: “Currently there are more than 200,000 people signed up to a Priority Service Register, but many more eligible people may be unaware that it exists and what benefits it could bring them. I urge people to sign up now.”