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Citizens Advice response to Ofgem’s review of the Priority Services Register: final proposals

31 March 2016

Citizens Advice response to Ofgem consultation PSR review, February 2016 [ 140 kb]

Citizens Advice welcomes this opportunity to respond to Ofgem’s consultation on the next steps for the Priority Service Register (PSR). Our response covers two areas:

  • Firstly, we address the specific questions raised in this consultation.
  • Secondly, in line with our ongoing work in this area, we provide our views on the PSR as one piece of the bigger picture of support required to address the needs of vulnerable consumers.

We welcome the refined coverage of the PSR to include families with children under 5 as a core eligibility group for priority services relating to safety, together with the eligibility for the wider register being extended to consumers in vulnerable situations. We value the recognition that vulnerability can be transient or atypical for some consumers and that energy companies should have the flexibility and responsibility to respond to consumer needs in whatever ways are appropriate to their circumstances at the time. Following from this, we believe that pregnant women should be able to register for the PSR on request, and that this could be included as an issue in the review process proposed under Q5.

We also welcome the change to the registration process, so that companies are required to identify consumers in vulnerable situations who would benefit from the PSR. However, we recognise that, in practice, this change will increase the need for companies to work each other and with external agencies, including NGOs and the NHS. This process is (or should be) focused on co-operation and replication of good practice, and incentives for individual companies should reflect that.