Getting extra support from your energy supplier
If you find it hard to deal with your energy supply you could get extra help from your energy companies. For example, they might agree to:
move your prepayment meter if you struggle to get to it
send someone to check your meter regularly
send your bills to another person - for example, a family member or carer
send you bills in large print or braille
give you extra support if you have a power cut - for example, sending someone to check on you and providing hot meals
To get extra help, you can apply to be added to your electricity network priority services register. Your electricity network is the company that manages your electricity cables.
If you have a gas supply, your electricity network will give your details to your gas network operator as well as your energy supplier. This means they can also add you to their priority services registers and offer you extra support.
Check if you're eligible
You'll normally be able to get priority services if your energy companies class you as 'vulnerable'.
You could be classed as vulnerable if you:
- are disabled or have a long-term health condition
- are recovering from an injury
- have mental health problems
- don't speak or read English well
- have children under 5 or are pregnant
- have reached your State Pension age
If your situation isn't listed, you might still be able to sign up for priority services for other reasons - for example, if you're recently bereaved or you've returned to living independently after some time in residential care.
If you claim benefits
You might be able to get a free annual gas safety check if you own your home and claim a ‘means tested benefit’ - for example Universal Credit, ESA or Income Support.
You’ll qualify if you live with a child under 5. Otherwise, you’ll qualify if you’re disabled, chronically ill or have reached state pension age and live:
on your own
with others who are disabled, chronically ill or of pensionable age
You can check your state pension age on GOV.UK.
Coronavirus - get help from an NHS volunteer
If you’re eligible for support from your energy provider because you’re vulnerable, you might also be able to get help from an NHS volunteer.
You can ask a volunteer to go shopping for you or collect a prescription. You can also talk to a volunteer on the phone if you’re feeling lonely because you’re self-isolating.
Fill in the priority services form
To find the right form, the first thing you’ll need to do is find out which energy network covers your area.
Your energy network is the company that supplies energy in your area - this is different to the company that sends your bills.
Once you know your electricity network, you can fill in the form on their website to apply for priority services. You’ll need to give your contact details, and answer a few questions about your requirements. They can pass your details to your gas network operator as well as your energy supplier. This means they can also add you to their priority services registers and offer you extra support. You’ll need to agree to share your information - you’ll usually have to tick a box on the application form.
After you apply, your energy companies will tell you if you can get priority services. They might also ask extra questions about what help you need.
Find your electricity network
You can find the website for your electricity network on the 105 website.
If you can’t find the form or have trouble filling it in, contact your electricity network - you can get their contact details from their website.
If you don’t hear from your energy companies
It's worth calling your energy companies if you don't hear anything within 2 weeks - you can find their phone numbers on their websites.
- if you're on their priority services register
- what support they can offer you - give as much detail as you can about your needs
If you move home
Your new home might be covered by a different electricity network. This means you'll need to apply for priority services again.
If you’re struggling with living costs
If you’re struggling with money, there are things you can do to save on your regular living costs. Check what to do if you need help with living costs.
If you’re finding it hard to pay your bills, you can get help. Find out more about getting help with your bills.
You can also get help with debts.
If you're struggling to pay for food, find out how to get help from a food bank.