Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) is extending the support it provides to those most vulnerable by expanding the eligibility of its Priority Services Register to include customers at increased risk of severe illness during the coronavirus pandemic.
A dedicated 80-strong team is also working to proactively contact customers who may be at risk of social isolation during the lockdown period, checking in on their welfare and signposting to further community support where required.
Nearly 750,000 customers are already benefitting from the additional care and support available from SSEN’s PSR – a free, tailored service available to all those who meet its criteria – including customers with a young baby at home, those over 60 and people who rely on electricity for home medical equipment.
And given the increase in customers who may require additional help during the coronavirus pandemic, the electricity distributor is expanding the PSR eligibility criteria to reflect this ever-changing situation.
Customers categorised at ‘high risk’ and ‘extremely high risk’ of severe illness from coronavirus are now eligible to sign up for additional support. This includes those following government guidelines who have received a letter from the NHS to socially shield for a 12-week period.
SSEN is also offering a friendly ear to PSR-registered customers over 75, with a new team set up specifically to call them during the pandemic, check on their welfare and signpost to local community support groups where required.
Using SSEN’s customer mapping tool, which provides detailed demographic information about the communities SSEN serves, 25,000 customers have been identified who may benefit from this additional support, including lone pensioners and those at high risk of social isolation.
Julie Walker, SSEN’s Social Obligations Manager, said: “The coronavirus pandemic has changed things for us all, and with everyone doing their bit to ensure they keep themselves, their friends, family and loved ones safe during the pandemic, here at SSEN we continue to focus on ensuring those most vulnerable are supported by our dedicated teams.
“By expanding the eligibility for our PSR we want to offer some reassurance in these worrying times, and so I’d encourage anyone who thinks that they, a family member, friend or neighbour could benefit from the extra help that is on offer, to get in touch, we’d love to hear from them.
“We’re also very aware that a lot of our elderly customers rely on their regular lunch clubs and coffee mornings for social interaction, and with these postponed at the moment they may not be having as much contact with the outside world. This new programme of proactive calls is our way of letting the more elderly PSR customers know that we’re still here for them, and hopefully we’ll have a good few friendly chats in the process.”
In addition to those self-isolating or shielding for a 12-week period, customers are eligible for SSEN’s Priority Services Register if they:
- Are deaf or hard of hearing
- Have a disability
- Live with children under five
- Are blind or partially sighted
- Have a chronic illness
- Use medical equipment/aids reliant on electricity
- Are over 60
For more information, or to register, please click here.