We have received the following very helpful information from East Sussex County Council about the Priority Services Registers operated by energy, water, and network providers.
The Priority Services Register is a free support service to help people in vulnerable situations. Energy suppliers and network operators offer it. Each keeps their own register, although some share with each other.
We recommend that people who may be vulnerable or at risk during severe weather should be on a Priority Services Register. Friends and relatives can assist those who may be in need of a bit of help to register, such as the elderly or people with serious medical conditions, or those who may not have Internet access and therefore may not have received this message. Each operator can be contacted online or by phone.
Similarly, if your household is already registered, please make sure that your registation is fully up to date, for example, contact details and special needs remain accurate.
Please act now, don’t wait!
Power cuts don’t happen very often but if the electricity, gas or water supply network is damaged or develops a fault, engineers work around the clock 24/7 to restore supplies as quickly as is safely possible. Being on a Priority Services Register will ensure that extra support will be received if the customer experiences an outage. Support is likely to include:
A priority number that you can call 24 hours a day
Text and voice message alerts, letting you know when they are aware of a large power cut in your area or should your water supply be interrupted
Tailored support if needed such as home visits, hot meals, advice and keeping your friends and relatives updated
Where possible they will send you text and voice messages when severe weather is expected, to help you prepare
In certain scenarios they may also offer a free hotel overnight and transport to the hotel
For complex power cuts, community welfare teams provide on-site support which includes hot drinks, hot meals, a Wi-Fi connection and charge points.
OFGEM has a summary at https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/information-consumers/energy-advice-households/getting-extra-help-priority-services-register, and this includes help in finding the suppliers in your area. As various energy suppliers and network operators are active in Sussex, the following are the ones who cover most of the county, but there are some others. If you try to register with the wrong operator they will usually steer you in the right direction.
UK Power Networks – most of the SE of England https://www.ukpowernetworks.co.uk/power-cut/priority-services/about-the-priority-services-register
SSEN – parts of the West of Sussex https://www.ssen.co.uk/PriorityServices/
Southern Water https://www.southernwater.co.uk/help-advice/join-our-priority-services-register
South East Water https://www.southeastwater.co.uk/get-help/help-for-priority-customers