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Support for energy customers with hearing loss

Support for energy customers with hearing loss

Many energy suppliers are taking steps to improve communication for customers with hearing impairments. Here’s how you can get help with your gas and electricity supply and easily manage your energy accounts if you’re affected by hearing loss.

Click here for information about how those with different sight or reading requirements can get support from suppliers.

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Priority Services Register for those with hearing loss

The Priority Services Register (PSR) is a scheme provided by energy suppliers for vulnerable energy customers, including those with hearing loss.

While most major suppliers are signed up to the Priority Services Register, it’s worth checking whether your provider offers it. The services provided by your supplier can vary, but can include:

  • The ability to nominate a trusted person to manage your account
  • Advanced notice of service interruption
  • Priority in a power cut
  • Quarterly meter readings

The supplier can also pass your details on to your local network operator to ensure you get extra support during a power cut and give you advance notice of any engineering work that could disrupt your energy supply.

You can read more about the services offered under the Priority Services Register in our guide.

If you’d like to find out more or access additional services from your energy supplier, you simply need to sign up to the Priority Services Register through your current supplier.

How to contact your energy supplier

While most energy suppliers will still allow you to contact them by post, this method of communication can be too slow when you’ve got a small or urgent query for your supplier.

Making a phone call can be especially difficult for those with hearing loss, but thankfully most energy suppliers now offer easy and fast ways to get in touch with them without picking up the phone. Check your supplier’s website or app to find out whether you can contact them in one of these alternative ways:

  • Online chat/webchat
  • Email or contact form
  • Through the supplier’s app
  • Through the supplier’s social media channels

Many larger suppliers also offer text relay services or video interpretation services for those who use British Sign Language (BSL).

See below for the different ways you can contact each of the large energy suppliers, as well as the additional support they offer for those with hearing loss and other vulnerabilities.

Support offered by your energy supplier

British Gas

As part of its commitments under the Priority Services Register, British Gas offers:

  • The ability to nominate a person to manage your account
  • Quarterly meter readings or smart meter installation
  • Free gas safety checks

British Gas also uses the SignVideo service to offer video interpreters for BSL users. This allows you to use your computer or smart device to connect to an interpreter who can translate your conversation with British Gas into BSL.

SSE

Under the Priority Services Register, SSE offers:

  • A knock and wait service, giving you more time to answer the door to SSE representatives
  • The ability to nominate a person to manage your account
  • Quarterly meter readings or smart meter installation

SSE also uses the SignVideo service, which allows you to talk securely about your accounts using a BSL interpreter via video.

ScottishPower

For its customers on the Priority Services Register, ScottishPower offers:

  • The ability to nominate a person to manage your account
  • Frequent meter reading services
  • Annual gas safety checks

You can also connect to ScottishPower by contacting the Next Generation Text Service.

npower

npower’s Priority Services customers are offered:

  • The ability to nominate a person to manage your account
  • Free gas safety checks

Npower also offers the SignVideo service to help you communicate with the supplier via a BSL interpreter. You can also dial 18001 in front of npower’s phone number (0808 501 5200) to use text relay for free.

E.ON

Under the Priority Services Register, E.ON customers can access:

  • The ability to nominate a person to manage your account
  • Quarterly meter readings at a minimum
  • Annual gas safety checks

You can also use the SignLive interpretation service to connect to E.ON and talk securely about your account or any other queries through a BSL interpreter. Minicom or textphone services are also available.

EDF

If you’re signed up to the Priority Services Register with EDF, you can access:

  • The ability to nominate a person to manage your account
  • Regular meter readings or smart meter installation
  • Free gas safety check

EDF has also partnered with the SignVideo service, which allows you to talk securely about your accounts using a BSL interpreter via video.

What other help am I eligible for?

Aside from support from your supplier, you may qualify for government schemes that could help with the cost of your energy bill. Use our interactive tool to find out what you could be eligible for:

Read more …

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