Energy help for vulnerable households

  • Extra support with utilities is available if you, or someone living with you is classed as vulnerable.
  • You can be added to the ‘priority services register’ to receive help and be given priority in an emergency.

What is the Priority Services Register  

All water, gas and electricity suppliers operate a ‘priority services register’. This is a list of customers who are vulnerable or have a vulnerable person living with them. It ensures that extra help is available to customers who need support the most, especially in an emergency.   

What help is available? 

As a priority services customer you should receive: 

  • Priority support in an emergency. 
  • Priority support when calling your supplier.  
  • Help with accessing a meter (for example, moving a prepayment meter if you can’t top it up safely).  
  • Meter reading services if nobody in your household can read your meter. 
  • The option to use an identification and password scheme if an engineer needs to visit your home, so you can be confident they are who they say they are. 
  • The option to nominate someone you trust to receive communications and bills from your supplier. 
  • Information in an accessible format if you need it (for example large print or braille). 
  • Help reconnecting your gas supply. 
  • If you rely on your energy supply for medical reasons you can get advanced notice if a power cut is planned (for example, if they plan engineering work). 
  • Extra support if you have a power cut (for example, welfare checks or provision of hot meals.) 

Am I eligible to join the priority services register? 

If you are vulnerable because of a disability, long-term health condition or another reason, you should be eligible to be included on the priority services register. Reasons that your supplier might consider you vulnerable are: 

  • You have reached your state pension age. 
  • You are hearing- or sight-impaired. 
  • You have a long-term physical or mental health condition. 
  • You have a disability. 
  • You are recovering from an injury 
  • You are pregnant or have young children 
  • You have extra communication needs (for example if you don’t speak or read English well or need information in large print or braille) 
  • You need to use medical equipment that requires a power supply 
  • You have poor or no sense of smell 
  • You would struggle to answer the door or get help in an emergency. 

You might still be able to join the register for other reasons. For example, if you need short-term support after a stay in hospital or are recently bereaved. 

How do I apply? 

You can apply to be added to the priority services register by filling in a form with your electricity network. Your electricity network is the company that supplies electricity in your area – this is different to the company that sends you bills. Follow this link to find out which electricity network covers your area and to apply. You’ll need to give your contact details and answer some questions about your requirements. Make sure you mention any communication needs you have (for example if you need information in large print, braille or a language that isn’t English.) 

You only need to apply to your electricity network. If your home has a gas supply, your electricity network will give your details to your gas network operator. They can also add you to their priority services registers and offer you extra support. You should be contacted to confirm that you have been added to the priority register.  

Check with your supplier if you aren’t sure whether you are on the register. Contact them if you don’t hear anything within 2 weeks – you can find their phone numbers on their websites. 

You can apply even if you don’t have an energy supplier – for example if you live in a park home and pay the park owner for your energy. 

If you move home or change supplier

If you move home or change your energy supplier you might need to apply for priority services again. Even if you have the same supplier, you might have a different energy network operator, so it is a good idea to check.

Other support services from your energy suppliers

There might be other help available from your supplier. For example, they might offer free gas safety checks every 12 months or provide and install carbon monoxide alarms.

If you rent your home your landlord is normally responsible for gas safety and providing carbon monoxide alarms where needed. Find out more about your landlords’ responsibilities in our repairs and conditions advice section.

Help with high energy bills

If you are struggling to pay for energy or to heat your home, please take a look at our advice about help with heating costs and our dedicated cost of living page.

Did you find this helpful?

Rydym yn ymddiheuro na fedrwn ddarparu’r wybodaeth yma yn Gymraeg, ond os hoffech siarad ag ymgynghorydd yn Gymraeg yna cysylltwch ar 08000 495 495.
We are sorry that we cannot provide this information in Welsh, however if you would like to speak to an adviser in Welsh please contact 08000 495 495.

This page was last updated on: March 12, 2024

Shelter Cymru acknowledges the support of Shelter in allowing us to adapt their content. The information contained on this site is updated and maintained by Shelter Cymru and only gives general guidance on the law in Wales. It should not be regarded or relied upon as a complete or authoritative statement of the law.