What is the Priority Services Register?

If you or someone you know needs extra support when it comes to managing their energy, then the Priority Services Register (PSR) could be of particular interest to you. Read on to find out more about this helpful scheme and what it could mean for you.

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In this guide you'll find information including:

  • What does the Priority Services Register do?

  • Who offers a PSR register?

  • Protection from lapsed bills on the PSR

  • How do I get added to the Priority Services Register?

  • What is meant by a ‘vulnerable situation’?

  • Who else offers the Priority Services Register scheme?

  • Do I need to apply to the electricity Priority Services Register and the gas Priority Services Register separately? 

  • What if I move home and I am on the Priority Services Register?

  • Are there other services for vulnerable customers?

What does the Priority Services Register do?

The Priority Services Register (PSR) is designed to provide a selection of helpful services for those considered vulnerable. Which services offered under the PSR varies from supplier to supplier but Ofgem offers the following list as an example of what is usually offered: 

  • Advanced warning of power cuts or gas cuts

  • Priority support in the event of unplanned cuts

  • Agreed identity checks (and passwords) when supplier representatives visit in person

  • Password protection 

  • Nominee scheme so others can manage the account on your behalf

  • Safely moving meters so they can be easily accessed 

  • Bills and account information offered in accessible formats

Who offers a PSR register?

The Priority Services Register is a scheme offered by network operators and energy suppliers. It aims to help people in vulnerable situations better manage events related to their energy supply such as power cuts and includes identification schemes where a service representative will use passwords to authenticate any call or visit. 

The big six all offer a core package of services, which include: advance notice of power cuts, assistance with billing, priority support during emergencies, meter readings, a caller identification scheme, free annual gas safety checks and prepayment meter moves, plus quarterly meter readings. Other suppliers may also offer these services, but they’re not obliged to, so check that yours does and consider switching if they don’t.

In addition, some suppliers offer additional features – for example, E.ON will provide an alternative means of heating and cooking in the event of a power cut, while npower allows those on the register to nominate a friend, family member or carer to be notified in the event of any interruptions – whether planned or unplanned – to your power supplies.

Is there any protection against unpaid bills for those on the PSR?

Yes, there’s a cold weather amnesty that ensures no one on the register is cut off from 1 October to 31 March each year, even if they can’t pay their bills.

How do I get added to the Priority Services Register?

You can ask to be added to the Priority Services Register if you are:

  • Living off a pension

  • Disabled or chronically sick

  • Living with a long-term medical condition

  • Visually impaired or hard of hearing

  • In a vulnerable situation

Previously, you would have needed to provide proof of your eligibility. The PSR has now been adapted to support a wider range of needs. That means you can simply express your desire to be added to the register and your supplier will be in touch to assess what services you may need. 

You can visit your supplier’s web page to sign up for the register online, or call one of the following numbers if you’re with one of the big six suppliers:

Updated 9 November 2020
Energy supplierPhone contact
British Gas0800 0728 625; 0800 294 8604 (PAYG)
E.ON 0345 052 0000
EDF 0333 200 5110
npower 0800 073 3000
ScottishPower 0800 074 1985
SSE 0800 622 838

What is meant by a ‘vulnerable situation’?

Energy suppliers define vulnerable situations in different ways, but some common scenarios include the following:

  • Customers who may have difficulty understanding their bill or the managing of their account

  • Customers who cannot access or maintain their meter due to injury

  • Temporary circumstances where the customer needs added support

  • Customers living with children aged under five

Who else offers the Priority Services Register scheme?

Your network operator will also have a PSR. The network operator (for electricity) and gas transporter (for gas) are also your points of contact in the case of a power cut as your energy supplier has no responsibility for these. In some cases, your energy supplier will pass your details onto your network supplier too. There may be further additional services that your network operator offers, such as automating your claims for power cut compensation

Do I need to apply to the electricity Priority Services Register and the gas Priority Services Register separately? 

Yes, but only if you get your gas and electricity from two different suppliers. Those on dual-fuel plans need only apply once. Ask if your supplier will be passing your contact details onto your network operator; if they don’t, you will have to register separately. 

What if I move home and I’m on the Priority Services Register?

If you move and set up energy in a new home with a different supplier, you will have to re-register for the Priority Services Register. Even if you stay with the same provider, you will have to let them know of your new address and your wish to remain on the PSR.

Are there other services for vulnerable customers?

Customers that can be classed as vulnerable are generally able to qualify for further benefits as well. These may include:

  • Winter Fuel Payment: This is a grant of up to £300 to be put towards heating bills which are significantly higher in the winter, this is usually paid every January. To qualify, you need to be part of a vulnerable group who were born on or before April 5th 1954 and have lived in the UK for at least one day during the week of 21-27 September 2020 (or have a genuine link to the UK).

  • Cold Weather Payment: For every week of cold weather in the period November-March, customers can receive £25.

  • Warm Home Discount: A discount payment made directly towards your winter fuel bills, usually paid in December.

Last updated: 9 November 2020