Priority Needs

Priority Services Register

We are dedicated to providing extra help to our most vulnerable customers to make managing their account with us that much simpler.

You may be eligible to join our Priority Services Register (PSR) if you, or a member of your household are:

  • Disabled
  • Over 65 years
  • Chronically sick

This confidential service allows us to see which of our customers require specific services to help manage their account and remain on supply.

Once on this register, we can:

  • Nominate a friend of family member to act on your behalf
  • Arrange for someone to attend your property to read your meters free of charge
  • Arrange for your meter to be moved for ease of access, if your meter is in an inaccessible location
  • Supply large print or braille correspondence if you have sight problems
  • Contact you if we see your supply has gone off and you require a constant supply due to a medical condition - *Please note in order for this service to be applicable you will need to have a smart meter installed within your home*

To find out more about the PSR and how you can be included, please contact us on 03303 337 441.

Please be aware, your water supplier might also have this type of register. For more information, please contact them directly.

Need more advice?

Action on hearing loss - www.actiononhearingloss.org.uk
Age UK - www.ageuk.org.uk
Scope UK - www.scope.org.uk
Sense – www.sense.org.uk
Citizens Advice - www.citizensadvice.org.uk
Disability Rights UK - disabilityrightsuk.org
The Home Heat Helpline - www.homeheathelpline.org.uk

Account Nominee Scheme

If you would like to nominate another person, such as your carer or next of kin, to manage your account for you, we can arrange this with your permission. You just need to ensure that you choose someone that you trust and who understands your needs. We can also arrange to re-direct any bills or statements to a different address if you would like somebody else to manage your account.

Customers with Hearing Difficulties

If you have difficulty hearing it may be easier for you if we put all information in writing, either by letter or email. Just send any enquiries to customerservices@utilta.co.uk. Alternatively, you can nominate a trusted friend or family member to speak on your behalf. Just let us know how you would like to communicate with us and we will do our best to accommodate you.

Blind and Partially Sighted Customers

We can arrange for large print and Braille versions of letters and bills to be sent to customers who are partially sighted or blind. If it is easier for us to explain your bill verbally, then we can arrange for a Customer Services Advisor to call you once a month or quarter. You can even nominate someone else such as a close relative or carer to receive your bill or any correspondence from us.

Issues to consider if you have Priority Needs:

Security

Unfortunately, there are people who may take advantage of vulnerable customers and you will need to be even more aware when letting people into your home. All representatives from Utilita and our associated Meter Reading or Operating companies will have a valid ID badge. They will immediately be able to tell you who they are and what the purpose of their visit is. If they cannot provide this information, do NOT let them in. You can always call a Customer Services Advisor and check their identity. For more information, see our Code of Practice, Knocking on Your Door.

Arranging a password

All of our customers are entitled to arrange a password of up to 25 characters, which you can use to verify the identity of our representatives when they visit your home. This password can be arranged with any member of our Customer Services Team and changed as often as you like.

Managing your accounts and paying for your electricity and gas

You may find one form of payment easier than another, or a member of your family may wish to deal with your Utilita account for you. If you choose to pay for your energy through a prepayment meter, you will need to consider how you will top-up. If you have difficulty getting to a PayPoint outlet, there are options to top-up over the phone, online or by text. Alternatively, you may wish to set up a direct debit which automatically tops up your meters each month. Please call us to discuss ways to pay and to ensure that you are happy with your energy service.

Accessing your prepayment meter

Our smart meters can be topped up remotely, which can be really useful if you have mobility issues and can’t get to the meters in order to plug in a key or a card and top-up. Your credit and carbon emissions are monitored through a handheld display unit called an 'In-Home Display'. However, if there is a minor fault with the meter we sometimes ask the customer to follow some simple procedures related to the meter itself, such as resetting it. If you cannot reach them because of a disability, you need to ensure that you are on our Priority Needs Register and we will send an engineer to your property in the first instance.

Reading your Meters

If you inform us that there is nobody over the age of 18 on your premise that is able to read the meter, we will arrange to send a meter reader to do this for you until your smart meters are installed to ensure accurate billing.

Remaining on Supply

If you have priority needs, it is even more important that you remain on supply. If you are on a prepayment meter however, we cannot prevent you from self-disconnecting, as the meters will shut themselves off when the Emergency Credit runs out. If you are reliant on a constant power supply for health or medical reasons, we would not always recommend prepayment meters as the best way of managing your energy bills.
If you are struggling to keep your meters topped-up, please call us to discuss alternatives to ensure that you do not risk going off supply. 

Supply Interruptions

On signing up, it is best to let us know if you have any medical equipment that relies on a constant supply of electricity and gas, as we will advise your doctor or social worker and ask for other arrangements that could be used if the supply to your home is interrupted.

If your supply of gas is disconnected for safety reasons we will do our best to facilitate alternative heating and cooking facilities for you.  It is rare for unplanned supply interruptions to occur and we will always give you as much warning as possible. It is our responsibility to inform the relevant Gas Transporter or Electricity Distribution Company of your password should they have any need to call at your property.

Energy Safety and Efficiency

Free Gas Safety Checks

If all the adults in your home are disabled, chronically sick or of pensionable age, you are entitled to a free safety check of your gas appliances every year. If you are in private rented accommodation, it is your landlord’s responsibility to offer you a free gas safety check. 

Carbon Monoxide

If you smell gas, or  suspect that there has been an escape of other fumes such as Carbon Monoxide, then you need to call the Gas Emergency Service free 24 hour national emergency number on 0800 111 999. Minicom users can call 0800 371 787.

Whilst you are waiting for an engineer, there are a number of safety measures you can take:

  • Do not smoke
  • Do not use naked flames
  • Do not turn electrical switches on or off
  • Turn off the gas mains supply at the meter
  • Open doors and windows to ventilate the house

Hypothermia

It is important to ensure that you maintain a normal room temperature in your home throughout the winter. You need to maintain a room temperature of 21-24 degrees Celsius to ensure safety and comfort throughout the colder months. Heating bills do creep up as the temperature drops, because it takes more energy to heat your house, but these should even up in summer. For help and advice on managing your bills, contact us.

Hypothermia is a real danger for the elderly or infirm; mild symptoms include shivering, tiredness and confusion. But as the temperature drops, shivering becomes more violent and a person is likely to become delirious, struggle to breathe and may end up unconscious.

If you are at home for long periods of the day, set your heating on a longer timer. Also, remember to wear layers of warm clothing, try to remain reasonably active and eat one hot meal a day. Keeping your fluids up with lots of hot drinks can also be useful.

If you think that somebody may be suffering from Hypothermia, you need to:

  • Call an ambulance immediately
  • Ensure that they are wearing warm, dry clothes
  • Wrap them in layers of thin blankets
  • Do not be tempted to give them a hot water bottle, place them in front of the fire or feed them alcohol - they need to warm up gradually

Energy Efficiency

One way to cope with bills is to make your home as energy efficient as possible. Our Customer Service Advisors are trained to offer you free and impartial advice on making your home run effectively. The smart meters can also help you to monitor your spending more closely and change your habits. If you have priority needs, you may also be eligible for certain government grants for heating and insulation improvements. Details for all government grants can be found at www.direct.gov.uk

Impartial Advice

We’ll do everything we can to help you, but if you would like any independent advice then you may want to try the Citizens Advice consumer service. This provides free, confidential and impartial advice on consumer issues. Visit www.adviceguide.org.uk or call the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 040 506.

There are a number of other organisations that may be able to help you if you have priority needs:

Age UK

Call - 0800 169 8787
Website - www.ageuk.org.uk

Energy Saving Trust

Call - 0800 512 012
Website - www.energysavingtrust.org.uk

Royal National Institute for the Blind

Call - 0303 123 9999
Website -  www.rnib.org.uk

Royal National Institute for the Deaf (Action on Hearing Loss)

Call - 0808 808 0123
Textphone - 0808 808 9000
Website - www.actiononhearingloss.org.uk

Warm Front

Call - 0800 316 2805
Textphone - 0800 072 0156
Website - www.warmfront.co.uk

If you would like a copy of this, or any other code of practice in Braille or audio form, please get in touch. Copies of this document can be posted to any of our customers free of charge.

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