Western Power Distribution Advice Hub
Extra support for people on the Priority Services Register
Project duration: January 2015 ongoing
The Advice Hub is an ongoing partnership between Western Power Distribution (WPD) and CSE to provide free energy advice to customers on the Priority Services Register (PSR).
Jamie Walters, who is managing the project at CSE, says “since January 2015 the project has allowed over 12,000 people who find it difficult to access support due to health and mobility issues, to get bespoke energy advice that they wouldn’t otherwise receive”.
The Priority Services Register is there to assist elderly people or those who have a long-term health issue that means they rely on a constant electricity supply, e.g. for an oxygen machine or stairlift. Those on the register are prioritised for reconnection in the event of a powercut and can even receive support from British Red Cross if their health is put at risk due to an interruption to their electricity supply.
The project has also been implemented in the Midlands (by both Coventry and Northampton Citizens Advice) and in Wales (by the Energy Saving Trust) under the WPD 'Power Up' brand. CSE has expanded the service to the South West to cover Bristol and former Avon, Somerset, Devon, Cornwall, as well as parts of Dorset.
WPD is contacting all customers on their PSR to offer the free energy advice. Those that accept are referred to CSE and called by an advisor who will offer advice on:
- Income maximisation, including benefits entitlement, Warm Home Discount applications, water company discounts and managing debt (energy and non-energy related)
- Switching energy supplier, tariff or payment method to get a better deal
- Schemes that offer funding for energy efficiency measures, such as the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) schemes
- Boiler replacement and using heating controls
- Behavioural change, to improve thermal comfort and reduce spending on bills, also including action to minimise condensation, damp and mould in the home
- Health and wellbeing, including accessing grants for mobility adaptations
We recently completed a PSR Health pilot offering support to 200 Air Liquide customers who rely on home oxygen equipment to manage symptoms of long term respiratory conditions. This enabled us to reach some of WPD’s highest priority customers.
The project is funded until March 2021 and we aim to offer advice to over 3,000 PSR customers a year.
Image: iStock, berna namoglu