Vulnerable Customers

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Electricity is critical to people’s livelihoods and welfare in today’s society. Approximately 4.5 million customers across our region are classed as vulnerable and supporting those affected is always at the centre of our thinking. As we move towards a more electrified society, we will support those in fuel poverty, those who are medically dependent on electricity, and those who may need extra support for any reason, to ensure the regions we serve transition to net zero Achieving a balance between greenhouse gas emissions being produced (including carbon dioxide) and greenhouse gas emissions being taken out of the atmosphere (e.g. by planting more trees) so that, overall, the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is no longer increasing in a just and socially inclusive way.

Moving into our next regulatory business plan period (2023-2028) the importance of our role in supporting vulnerable customers A customer may be defined as vulnerable in line with Ofgem’s vulnerable customer definition. This includes those that rely on medical equipment, have a critical medical condition, require on an alternative communication method and have a long, short term or age related support requirement. is clearer than ever, and we understand the need to offer services proactively and to continue to collaborate with partnersOrganisations with whom we collaborate on projects and operations within our regions and our sector as much as possible. One of the four objectives of our innovation strategy is to promote and safeguard the interests of our customers. As such, we are enhancing and increasing the scale of services we currently provide to vulnerable customers A customer may be defined as vulnerable in line with Ofgem’s vulnerable customer definition. This includes those that rely on medical equipment, have a critical medical condition, require on an alternative communication method and have a long, short term or age related support requirement..

Customers will see the following outcomes:

  • targeted recruitment of vulnerable customers A customer may be defined as vulnerable in line with Ofgem’s vulnerable customer definition. This includes those that rely on medical equipment, have a critical medical condition, require on an alternative communication method and have a long, short term or age related support requirement. to our priority services membership (PSM)A free membership service operated by network operators and suppliers that allows eligible customers to voluntarily sign up to receive extra support during power cuts. This could be support to customers who may be more vulnerable due to their medical or personal circumstances (e.g. those medically dependent on electricity, who are of pensionable age, have a disability or long-term ill health, are blind or visually impaired, or have difficulty communicating). ; i
  • enhanced communications and support during power interruptions for PSM customers;
  • quick and easy access to priority services information, updates and advice via a new app;
  • data and partnerships used to enhance our support for vulnerable customers A customer may be defined as vulnerable in line with Ofgem’s vulnerable customer definition. This includes those that rely on medical equipment, have a critical medical condition, require on an alternative communication method and have a long, short term or age related support requirement.;
  • vulnerability awareness embedded across our operations including trained teams to identify and support vulnerable customers A customer may be defined as vulnerable in line with Ofgem’s vulnerable customer definition. This includes those that rely on medical equipment, have a critical medical condition, require on an alternative communication method and have a long, short term or age related support requirement.;
  • increased help with affordability servicesProvision of support and solutions to alleviate the effects of fuel poverty impacting customers within our region. for customers in fuel poverty; and
  • support for a socially inclusive transition to net zero Achieving a balance between greenhouse gas emissions being produced (including carbon dioxide) and greenhouse gas emissions being taken out of the atmosphere (e.g. by planting more trees) so that, overall, the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is no longer increasing .

Actions we will take to achieve these outcomes include:

  • allowing customer-facing staff to access and submit PSM registrations and make real-time amendments to improve accuracy about a customer’s needs;
  • developing recruitment campaigns to reflect regional differences, including between urban and rural customers, and enhancing this by using both data and our network of partnersOrganisations with whom we collaborate on projects and operations within our regions and our sector ;
  • sharing priority services information and support tools among trusted partnersOrganisations with whom we collaborate on projects and operations within our regions and our sector , which will allow collaboration on targeted support for hard-to-reach and seldom-heard customers;
  • delivering an application that provides two-way communication on one platform, enabling faster and more accessible engagement with our vulnerability services;
  • providing enhanced customer support vehicles during planned and unplanned power interruptions, including the regional roll-out of our Net zero-ready Developing a local electricity network that can support increasing uptake of low-carbon technologies that will facilitate the net zero transition Silent Power vehicles;
  • communicating proactively during supply interruptions, using digital channels where possible;
  • extending our partnership reach to deliver a regionally tailored affordability service for 100,000 customers in extreme fuel poverty, unlocking £25m of benefits;
  • working with partnersOrganisations with whom we collaborate on projects and operations within our regions and our sector to educate customers on energy efficiency and available grants;
  • collaborating with partnersOrganisations with whom we collaborate on projects and operations within our regions and our sector to offer customers tailored support on how to benefit from the transition to net zero Achieving a balance between greenhouse gas emissions being produced (including carbon dioxide) and greenhouse gas emissions being taken out of the atmosphere (e.g. by planting more trees) so that, overall, the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is no longer increasing and ensure vulnerable customers A customer may be defined as vulnerable in line with Ofgem’s vulnerable customer definition. This includes those that rely on medical equipment, have a critical medical condition, require on an alternative communication method and have a long, short term or age related support requirement. are not left behind;
  • delivering enhanced, regionally focussed training to colleagues every 24 months;
  • applying vulnerability criteria as part of prioritising network investment works; and
  • publishing an annual vulnerability report for our stakeholders People and groups with an interest in our operations as the region’s electricity distribution network operator. This includes customers, local authorities and installers of low carbon technology that outlines our delivery of our commitments in this business plan period.

Benefits:

  • enhanced support for vulnerable customers A customer may be defined as vulnerable in line with Ofgem’s vulnerable customer definition. This includes those that rely on medical equipment, have a critical medical condition, require on an alternative communication method and have a long, short term or age related support requirement. across our services;
  • more flexibilityFlexibility is the ability to increase or decrease the production and / or consumption of energy at a given or requested time in order to support the wider electricity network and optimise capacity available for customers. We are seeking to adopt flexibility-first strategies, where flexibility solutions are the preferred means of balancing additional demand on our network in how vulnerable customers A customer may be defined as vulnerable in line with Ofgem’s vulnerable customer definition. This includes those that rely on medical equipment, have a critical medical condition, require on an alternative communication method and have a long, short term or age related support requirement. access information and communicate with us;
  • tailored support during power outages;
  • lower bills; and
  • a socially inclusive transition to net zero Achieving a balance between greenhouse gas emissions being produced (including carbon dioxide) and greenhouse gas emissions being taken out of the atmosphere (e.g. by planting more trees) so that, overall, the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is no longer increasing .

i Our priority services membershipA free membership service operated by network operators and suppliers that allows eligible customers to voluntarily sign up to receive extra support during power cuts. This could be support to customers who may be more vulnerable due to their medical or personal circumstances (e.g. those medically dependent on electricity, who are of pensionable age, have a disability or long-term ill health, are blind or visually impaired, or have difficulty communicating). is a database of vulnerable customers A customer may be defined as vulnerable in line with Ofgem’s vulnerable customer definition. This includes those that rely on medical equipment, have a critical medical condition, require on an alternative communication method and have a long, short term or age related support requirement. that we can access to offer enhanced support based on individual needs. This could include temporary restoration of power during a supply interruption to keep critical medical equipment online, priority reconnection for a family with young children, or support for those in fuel poverty.

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