Tell your supplier if you need extra support

This advice applies to England. See advice for See advice for Northern Ireland, See advice for Scotland, See advice for Wales

If you find it hard to deal with your energy supply you could get extra help from your energy companies. You can apply to be added to your electricity network’s priority support register to get priority support for electricity and gas.

For example, your suppliers might agree to:

  • move your prepayment meter if you struggle to get to it

  • make your call a priority when you contact them

  • send someone to check your meter regularly

  • send you bills in large print or braille, or to another person - for example, a family member or carer 

  • arrange for their engineers to tell you a password or show you a picture ID card if they need to visit or contact you - so you can check they’re genuine

  • help reconnect your gas supply, if you need it

You’ll also get advance notice of planned power cuts - for example, if they’re doing engineering work. If you have a power cut you can get extra support - for example, someone could be sent to check or you could get hot meals provided.

If you’re struggling to pay your energy bills

You might be able to get help, you should check:

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 have a gas supply, your electricity network will give your details to your gas network operator. This means they can also add you to their priority services registers and offer you extra support.

Your gas network operator and energy supplier should contact you to confirm you’ve been added to their register.

If you’re not sure if you’re already on the priority services register, ask your supplier, electricity network and gas network operator. You can find their contact details on their website or on a letter or bill.

Check if you're eligible

You'll normally be able to get priority services if your energy companies class you as 'vulnerable'.

You could be classed as vulnerable if you're disabled or have a long-term health condition. This includes hearing, sight and mental health conditions. Your supplier might also agree you're vulnerable if you:

  • have reached your State Pension age

  • don't speak or read English well

  • have children under 5 or are pregnant

  • have no sense of smell or you would struggle to smell gas

  • would struggle to answer the door or get help in an emergency

  • are recovering from an injury

If your situation isn't listed, you might still be able to sign up for priority services for other reasons - for example, if you're recently bereaved or you've returned to living independently after some time in residential care.

If you claim benefits

You might be able to get a free annual gas safety check if you own your home and claim a ‘means tested benefit’ - for example Universal Credit, ESA or Income Support.

You’ll qualify if you live with a child under 5. Otherwise, you’ll qualify if you’re disabled, chronically ill or have reached state pension age and live:

  • on your own

  • with others who are disabled, chronically ill or of pensionable age

You can check your state pension age on GOV.UK.

Check if something is an energy scam

Some scammers are pretending to be from energy companies to get your personal information.

If you think something might be a scam: 

  • don’t give out any personal information or bank details

  • don’t use any contact details from the possible scam

You can check if something is a scam.

Fill in the priority services form

To find the right form, the first thing you’ll need to do is find out which electricity network covers your area.

Your electricity network is the company that supplies electricity in your area - this is different to the company that sends your bills.

Once you know your electricity network, you can fill in the form on their website to apply for priority services. You’ll need to give your contact details, and answer a few questions about your requirements. 

Find your electricity network's priority services register application form

Find out how to apply to your electricity network on the Priority Services Register website.

You only need to apply to your electricity network - even if the website shows your gas provider as well.

If you need information in a different format or language

Tell your electricity network how you want to be contacted. They should send you information in a way you find accessible. This might be:

  • large print

  • braille

  • a telephone call

  • a language that isn’t English

  • easy read

The priority services register application form should ask how you prefer information sent to you. If it doesn’t, there should be a box to give extra details. Use this box to tell your electricity network about your preferred contact method.

Your electricity network will pass your details to your gas network operator as well as your energy suppliers. They will all add you to their priority services registers and offer you extra support. You’ll need to agree to share your information - you’ll usually have to tick a box on the application form.

After you apply, your energy companies will tell you if you can get priority services. They might also ask extra questions about what help you need.

If you don’t hear from your energy companies

It's worth calling your energy companies if you don't hear anything within 2 weeks - you can find their phone numbers on their websites.

Ask them:

  • if you're on their priority services register

  • what support they can offer you - give as much detail as you can about your needs

If you move home

Your new home might be covered by a different electricity network. This means you'll need to apply for priority services again.

If you’re struggling with living costs

If you’re struggling with money, there are things you can do to save on your regular living costs. Check what to do if you need help with living costs.

If you’re finding it hard to pay your bills, you can get help. Find out more about getting help with your bills.

You can also get help with debts.

If you're struggling to pay for food, find out how to get help from a food bank.

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