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Caring power workers dig deep for vulnerable communities

Caring electricity workers have raised more than £1,800 for a charity which helps their most vulnerable customers at a difficult time during power cuts.

From Press releases - 9 May 2014 12:00 AM

Caring electricity workers have raised more than £1,800 for a charity which helps their most vulnerable customers at a difficult time during power cuts.

Hundreds of UK Power Networks’ staff showed their support during Red Cross Week by organising cake sales, a car wash and wearing casual clothes for the annual national fundraiser.

Events were held today across the company’s offices in London, Crawley, Maidstone, Potters Bar, Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds.

Mark Astarita, director of fundraising at the British Red Cross, said: “We are delighted to have the support of UK Power Networks, and are especially grateful to the company’s staff for their wonderful fundraising efforts. Their contribution will allow us to offer help to even more vulnerable people affected by power cuts around the UK.”

In 2008 UK Power Networks became the first electricity distributor to form an innovative charity partnership with the British Red Cross, bringing practical help at home to vulnerable customers during power cuts in London, the South East and East Anglia.

Sam Fuller, UK Power Networks’ head of customer services, said: “The British Red Cross does fantastic work on our behalf, directly helping our most vulnerable customers during power cuts. It’s a charity close to our hearts so our employees were pleased to get behind the cause.

“We know what a worrying time a power cut is, especially for vulnerable customers, which is why the charity’s support is so important. This year we are appealing for more people to apply for our Priority Services Register, so we can get help to as many vulnerable customers as possible.”

There are currently 378,614 people on the company’s Priority Services Register – 69,837 in London, 111,645 in the South East and 197,132 East Anglia - but estimates indicate many more could and should be benefitting from the free service. UK Power Networks would like to see tens of thousands of eligible customers registering this year.

Anyone who lives in London, the South East or East Anglia can apply if they are:
• Dependent on electricity for medical equipment such as oxygen, nebulizers, dialysis, apnoea machines, bed bath hoists or chair lifts
• Chronically sick or have a disability such as blindness, deafness, speech difficulties or mobility problems
• Have a young baby or are recovering from an operation.

Being on the register does not always mean engineers can restore electricity supplies quicker but when the firm knows about a power cut staff will normally contact vulnerable customers with updates, advice and reassurance. During more complex faults trained volunteers from the British Red Cross sometimes attend with blankets, hot drinks and reassurance for individuals and care homes, or provide hot water so medical equipment can be sterilised and baby milk can be warmed.

Simon Lewis, head of UK emergency planning and response at the British Red Cross, said: “We know from our experiences of working in partnership with UK Power Networks over the years how important it is for vulnerable customers to have the right support when they experience a power cut.

“Our dedicated volunteers respond throughout the year to assist those affected by power cuts and other emergencies. By working together with UK Power Networks we can continue to reach the most vulnerable when they are facing a personal crisis and help them to recover and move on with their lives."

Joining UK Power Networks’ Priority Services Register is free and simple and the company won’t share personal details with any other companies – only the Red Cross and emergency services, if their help is needed.

To register ring UK Power Networks on 0800 169 9970 or email or see