Essex: Extra help available for those in need during power cuts

Braintree and Witham Times: Essex: Extra help available for those in need during power cuts Essex: Extra help available for those in need during power cuts

Essex families with babies, or people who are frail or ill, are being urged to join a special register to get extra support if there is a power cut.

UK Power Networks s encouraging people who rely on electricity for medical equipment, for heating babies’ milk, or who have disabilities which they feel would make them vulnerable during a power cut, to sign up to its Priority Services Register. T

he register has only recently been extended to include people who have young children aged up to two years old.

Following the recent flooding of many properties on the East coast and also the St Jude’s storm in October which affected power supplies to about 700,000 people in the East and South East of England, the company is now reminding people that the register is available and urging those in need to sign up if they need extra support.

Being on the register does not mean that electricity supplies can be restored any quicker for those people, however UK Power Networks staff will know about their situation and can ensure they get extra help if needed.

For example, where possible staff will contact customers on the register if they know of a power cut in their area, as well as giving them regular updates, advice and reassurance during the incident. They can also arrange for an engineer to visit to let them know when the fault has been fixed.

UK Power Networks also works in partnership with the British Red Cross who can visit people, if required, to offer help and support during unusually long power cuts.

UK Power Networks’ head of customer services, Sam Fuller, said: “It is so important that people get in touch with us and sign up to the register and the recent storms have highlighted that.

It’s free of charge and we don’t share peoples’ details with other companies, only the Red Cross and emergency services if appropriate.

“We know how difficult it can be for everybody during a power cut, regardless of disability, but it can be particularly distressing for people who have extra needs. We currently have about 320,000 people on the register, but we know that really there should be many more, so we’re encouraging everyone who could be on our Priority Services Register to get in touch.”

You can apply to be on the register if you live in the East, South East or London (where UK Power Networks operates) and are: • Dependent on electricity for medical equipment such as oxygen/nebulizer/dialysis/apnoea machines, a bedbath hoist or chair lift.

• 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.

For the full criteria see our website at www.ukpowernetworks.co.uk To apply to be on the register please contact UK Power Networks on 0800 1699970 or email psr@ukpowernetworks.co.uk or see http://www.ukpowernetworks.co.uk/internet/en/power-cuts/

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