With winter well and truly here, Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) is urging people who might need extra support during a power cut to sign up for its free Priority Services Register (PSR).

SSEN, which owns and maintains the electricity network in the north of Scotland and central southern England, has more than 451,000 people on its Priority Services Register. But it recognises that there still may be people who are not aware of this free essential service, and is urging anyone who thinks they may be eligible for help to get in touch.

Anyone can qualify for the PSR if they are dependent on electricity for home medical care, have a chronic illness or short term medical condition, are disabled, have special communication needs, have children under five or are over the age of 60.

During a power cut, those registered on the PSR will receive a phone call and, where necessary, a welfare check from a member of a specially-trained team. The free service also offers:

  • Dedicated 24 hour priority services phone number
  • Priority updates during a power cut
  • Information in the format you need, for example Braille, textphone, audio CD or foreign language

People can also nominate somebody � a family member or friend � who becomes their official contact for SSEN's dedicated team. A security password system ensures the safety of customers.

Julie Walker, Social Obligations Manager at Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks, said: "We recognise how difficult and distressing a power cut can be for our customers and want to ensure those who need extra support during emergency situations are cared for and supported by our dedicated teams. We treat every customer as an individual and understand that their circumstances can change and they may suddenly find themselves feeling vulnerable.

"We know there may be customers in our communities who are not aware of the register and the support we offer to those who need it most and we'd encourage them to sign up to the service as soon as possible.

"By recognising and identifying signs of vulnerability, we can ensure the advice and assistance we give is tailored as appropriate to each individual we talk to. We provide vulnerability training to our employees in our customer contact centres and depots to help us provide the most appropriate service for each of our customers. I would urge people to consider whether they, or someone they know, could benefit from extra support and contact us to sign up."

  • Registering for SSEN's priority services is simple and straightforward. Customers can join the register by:
  • Calling SSEN's dedicated Priority Services team on 0800 294 3259 and register over the phone.
  • Calling 0800 316 5457 and registering using a text phone
  • Visiting ssen.co.uk/PriorityServicesRegister/ and registering online
  • Downloading SSEN's Priority Services booklet, filling out the application form and sending it to SSEN by post using the freepost address.

For more information on SSEN's Priority Services Register, please visit ssen.co.uk/PriorityServices.