Three utility companies in gas, electricity and water are working together to make it easier for customers with additional needs to register for extra assistance if something goes wrong with their essential services.

The announcement comes after the three companies sponsored the Stronger Together conference which explored how public and private sector organisations and businesses can work together to identify and support the most vulnerable in communities.

Wales & West Utilities, the gas emergency and pipeline service, electricity provider Western Power Distribution (WPD) and Dwr Cymru Welsh Water have partnered together to help sign up eligible customers to their respective priority service registers. The three companies are each committed to continually improving their customers’ service experience.

Wales & West Utilities visits customers’ homes for emergency call outs or when planned gas pipe investment work has taken place and gas engineers take the opportunity to ask people if they would like to sign up to the company’s priority services register if they are eligible. Engineers do this via an app on their smart phones, initially designed for customers to register their level of satisfaction of Wales & West Utilities customer service.

WPD proactively contacts priority service customers by text and phone if they are likely to be affected by planned supply interruptions, as well as providing assistance through its partnership with the British Red Cross for those needing extra help. Over 1.3 million customers have already registered, while its free Power Cut Reporter app, which is available on the App Store and Google Play, also enables customers to register for a priority service.

Welsh Water’s 1.3 million customers rely on the not-for-profit utility firm to provide them with the most essential of services which are key to protecting public health.  Ensuring that its most vulnerable customers are properly looked after during any potential supply interruptions is a priority for the company. It already has around 24,0000 customers signed up to its additional needs register but knows there are more people out there that could be benefiting from the additional support it provides.

Wales & West Utilities Director of Business Services, Mark Oliver, said:

“It seemed logical that if we were going to be asking people to register for additional assistance if their gas supply was interrupted, that these same people might also need extra assistance if their electricity or water supplies were interrupted. So we looked at how we might incorporate additional opportunities for registering customers via our customer service phone app.

“The option for customers to register for their electricity priority service register has been running for some months now and we are looking forward to working together with Dwr Cymru Welsh Water so those who need it can register for special assistance if their water supply is interrupted too.

“We hope this will give people peace of mind that their individual circumstances will be taken into consideration if one of their essential services is interrupted.”

WPD’s Corporate Communication Manager, Paul Bishop, said:

“We are delighted to be involved in this new partnership which will benefit greatly those vulnerable customers who require extra help. Providing world class standards of customer service is of paramount importance to us and we pride ourselves on our excellent track record of efficiency and reliability.”

Julia Cherrett, Welsh Water’s Managing Director of Retail Services said:

“At Welsh Water, providing help and developing tailored support for our most vulnerable customers is a key priority for us.  We work hard to identify those customers with additional needs but we know there are more people out there that could be benefitting.  Working in partnership in this way will mean that we can reach even more customers with the extensive range of help that we offer.”