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Extra Help From Your Energy Supplier

30th Oct 2019
3 minutes to read

Aodhan O'Donnell

Sometimes we all need a little helping hand, but did you know you can get extra help from your energy supplier if you need it…


As we approach the coldest time of year its a good idea to check what help is available from your energy supplier and, if you depend on electrical equipment for day to day care, register on the NIE Critical Care Register.


Customer Care Register

All energy suppliers in Northern Ireland manage their own ‘Customer Care Register’ which ensures customers can access additional support that they may need.

Customer Care Registers are there to help customers who may be elderly, visually impaired, hearing impaired, have a long term medical condition, are chronically sick or vulnerable. Suppliers will not ask for proof of any health issue or vulnerability – you only have to make them aware of your needs and they can agree with you what support is most appropriate.


Who can register for support?

There are no strict terms or criteria in terms of vulnerability. So if extra support would make your life easier then it makes sense to sign up to your energy suppliers’ Customer Care Register.


What support is available?

 Each supplier operates their own Customer Care Register so the actual support on offer will vary. However, support will generally include things such as…

  • Password protection scheme: to provide reassurance that callers are genuine.
  • Bill nominee scheme: Bills and other communications can be copied to a family member or carer.
  • Special controls and adaptors: for electrical and gas appliances.
  • Help with metering: If your meter is difficult to access you can ask for it to be moved to an easier to reach place.
  • Help with understanding bills: Bills can be supplied in large print, braille or talking bills to help access this information
  • Meter Read: Suppliers will arrange to read the meter at least once each quarter if you are unable to read the meter.
  • Gas Safety Check: a free annual gas safety inspection.
  • Energy Efficiency Advice: information on the efficient use of electricity and gas appliances.

Your supplier may offer other support relevant to your needs – each supplier has a Code of Practice which sets out in detail the support they offer. These are available on each suppliers website or can be requested by phone or email.


How to register for a Customer Care Register

Signing up is free to be added to the Customer Care Register, you simply need to contact your energy supplier by phone or email. Some suppliers have an application form on their website which you can complete and return.

Suppliers should also contact you on an annual basis to check if your support needs are the same or if anything has changed.


Don’t get confused between ‘Customer Care Register’ and ‘Critical Care Register’

Often people get mixed up between Customer Care Registers and the Critical Care Registers – it’s understandable, they sound the pretty much the same.

But here is the difference…

Customer Care Registers are managed by the energy supplier themselves and are aimed at providing additional support and help to their customers.

Critical Care Register is operated by Northern Ireland Electricity (NIE) who manage the electricity network. This register is used to keep details of people who rely on life-supporting electrical equipment for their day to day care. This could include oxygen concentrators, electric chairlift, home dialysis or even vital medicines that require refrigeration.

Anyone on the Critical Care Register will receive up-to-date information by phone during a power cut or a planned interruption of supply. In the event of an un-planned power cut your call will be given priority. NIE Networks will then contact you regularly during the power cut with up to date information.

To join the Critical Care Register you can Register Online with NIE, download a critical care registration form and return by post or your energy supplier can pass your details through to NIE.


Final Points

So remember ‘Customer Care Registers’ are managed by suppliers to provide you with extra help and the ‘Critical Care Register’ offers support for customers who rely on electricity for day to day care.

If you, or someone you know, would benefit from the extra support offered by the Customer Care Register it makes sense to get registered and benefit from the help on offer. And if you rely on electricity for life-supporting electrical equipment it’s important to get on the Critical Care Register.



For more information, advice and support on energy issues visit www.powertoswitch.co.uk or follow us on facebook or twitter

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