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Fire services highlight power cut help

A pioneering community partnership between UK Power Networks and local fire services is increasing public awareness of a service for vulnerable customers during power cuts.

From Press releases - 3 February 2017 12:00 AM

Fire services highlight power cut help 2.jpg

The Priority Services Register (PSR) is a completely free service run by local electricity distributor, UK Power Networks, dedicated to helping people who would be more vulnerable during a power cut, however rare.

Recent research showed just one in eight of over 80s knew about the useful service. Now, several fire services have teamed up with UK Power Networks to increase public awareness of the register.

West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, Essex County Fire and Rescue Service and Surrey Fire and Rescue Service help identify those who could benefit from being on the register and refer them to UK Power Networks, such as when they go into homes to test fire alarms and run safety checks. Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service is working towards promoting the register in their area.

Pensioners, parents with small babies, disabled people, hearing and sight-impaired residents and those using medical equipment powered by electricity at home all qualify to join the Priority Services Register - gaining access to free extra support in a power cut.

Claire Byrd, media and communications manager at West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, said: “A lot of work we do is about helping communities become stronger and more resilient. We are really keen to work with partners where we can jointly deliver help. UK Power Networks is a natural partner for us, bringing extra reassurance to those who need it in a power cut. We help UK Power Networks to identify people who could benefit from extra help in a power cut.”

Kerry Potter, priority services manager at UK Power Networks, said: “The fire service is experienced at community engagement and they work in people’s homes so can tell when the help would be needed. It is making a huge difference to customers.

“We are collaborating with more organisations and being smarter about engagement with our local communities to make sure more of our customers know about the help they’re entitled to.”

In January staff joined West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service in Haywards Heath going door-to-door making home safety checks and informing people about the register. This month the Kirkley area of Lowestoft will be the focus for home visits with Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service.

Last year over 45 people joined the PSR at Worthing Fire Station open day.

Being on the register does not usually mean UK Power Networks can restore electricity supplies quicker, but UK Power Networks will know their situation and keep them updated until their power is back on.

Customers in London, the South East and East of England can apply to join the PSR or register a friend or relative at www.ukpowernetworks.co.uk/priority, ring 0800 169 9970, or email psr@ukpowernetworks.co.uk.

Those on the register can access extra help services including:
• A 24-hour priority phone number
• A dedicated team who will contact you to keep you updated during a power cut
• Tailored support if needed such as home visits, hot meals, advice and keeping your friends and relatives updated
• In certain scenarios we may also offer a free hotel overnight and transport to the hotel

To watch a video about recent work with West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service click here.

UK Power Networks aims to extend its fire service partnerships to Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Norfolk fire and rescue services.