Utilities join forces to improve disabled customer service amid energy crisis

Anglian Water, SGN and UK Power Networks have provided additional funding to boost charity’s free advice helpline

Big Zero Report 2022

Disabled energy customers will be able to access improved helpline services after a partnership of three utilities.

Gas distribution company SGN, UK Power Networks and Anglian Water have come together in a cross-utility partnership with the charity Scope to help disabled customers manage their utility bills.

The companies provided additional funding to allow Scope to increase the number of people that can be helped by its helpline service.

The helpline, which is known as ‘Disability Energy Support (DES) with Water Advice’ launched in December 2020 – to date, Scope estimates the service has already saved people a total of nearly £345,000.

Tom Marsland, Scope’s Consumer Affairs Policy Manager, said: “The current energy crisis, combined with the increase in the energy price cap level, means bills are set to soar this winter, leaving many disabled people facing financial hardship.”

Dr Giulia Privitera, Strategic Social Sustainability Programme Manager at UK Power Networks, said: “Put simply – the social model for disability says people are disabled by barriers within society, not by their disability itself. The same applies for the energy sector.”

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