As the company behind the substations, overhead lines, wooden poles and underground cables that power communities across the north of Scotland, SSEN Distribution invests millions every year to minimise the risk of power cuts.

However, even after this investment, faults can sometimes still occur, and storm damage can cause the power to go off. And for times like these, the company’s free Priority Services Register (PSR) is there offer extra help and support to those who need it most.

At present, nearly 36,000 customers across the Highlands and Islands are signed-up to the register. However, as people’s domestic, personal and health situations are open to change, so does their eligibility for the free support on offer, and so SSEN is doing all it can to raise awareness of the potential help that it can provide.

As part of this work to raise awareness of the register and its benefits, Pamela Harvey, SSEN Distribution’s Customer Relationship Manager, recently visited Gairloch to deliver a presentation at the GALE Centre, where the local community learned more not just about the PSR, but also the company’s Home Emergency Plan, which has been designed as a handy “go-to” tool to keep vital information in one place to make life that little bit less stressful in an emergency.

Pamela was delighted with the turnout, and the interest shown by the local community in boosting their personal resilience. She said:
“We’re investing millions of pounds every year to make the local network more robust and less susceptible to power cuts, but at the same time we also want to make sure our customers are as prepared as they can be for the rare occasions there is a fault, or if high winds or storms damage our equipment and cause the power to go off.

“Our PSR is free to join, and it has a wide range of eligibility criteria, as we want to be able to help as many people as possible. One of the things I was really keen to stress today is the idea of “temporary vulnerability”, as it’s sometimes the case that people don’t see themselves as being eligible to sign up, whereas in fact their current situation means they can, for example when they have a young child, or have just come out of hospital or are using home medical equipment that relies on electricity.”
Harry Tedstone from Highland Hospice was also delivering a presentation at the afternoon’s session, and said afterwards:
“Today's event was a great way for us to raise awareness of the work we do at Highland Hospice,  and the support we offer to local communities to deliver community led projects that deliver local social care resilience;  along with the information shared by Pamela, we hope that it will make a difference to the communities in and around Gairloch knowing that this level of support is available."
Rebecca Wolfenden, Volunteer Programme Coordinator at the GALE Centre, explains how the recent session came about:
“When Pamela explained how she wanted to raise awareness of the Priority Services Register, I suggested we have an open session for the local community, with free soup and sandwiches to make the event more relaxed and engaging. The GALE Centre is really well known across Gairloch and the wider Loch Ewe area, which made it an ideal location for today’s session, and as we work closely with Highland Hospice throughout the year, we invited them along to give a talk as well.

“I think Pamela’s really helpful presentation on the PSR and Home Emergency Plan, along with the invaluable information provided by Highland Hospice, will make a big difference to our local communities, reassuring them that help is on hand when they may need it most.”

Customers can sign up to the free PSR if they

  • Are deaf or hard of hearing
  • Have a disability
  • Live with children under five
  • Are blind or partially sighted
  • Have a chronic illness
  • Use medical equipment/aids reliant on electricity
  • Are over 60
  • Temporarily need extra support

Everyone has different needs, and SSEN Distribution is encouraging anyone who thinks that they, a friend or family member may be eligible for the PSR, to get in touch with their dedicated team to discuss their individual requirements.

To learn more about the PSR, please call 0800 294 3259 or visit the dedicated web page.