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Thames Water partners with UK Power Networks to support vulnerable customers

Monday 26th July 2021 13:28

A Thames Water employee dressed in blue hands bottled water to an older lady in grey jumper

Thames Water has joined forces with UK Power Networks to support more customers in the communities they serve. 

The cross-utility partnership will help both organisations identify and add more customers to their priority services registers (PSR).

Thames Water’s PSR is a secure database of customers who would struggle to get by should their home’s water supply be disrupted.

In such circumstances, priority service customers are contacted by Thames Water’s care team for bottled water deliveries directly to their homes if they are unable to get to a collection hub. The system also gives those customers advanced warning of planned work which may risk an interruption to their water supply and provides tailored communication services.

The new partnership will allow PSR registrations and updates to be shared between the organisations, enabling extra support for customers who may be more vulnerable if their electricity or water supply are affected. 

Pete Cotton, Thames Water priority services manager, said: “This partnership is a step in the right direction for our customers and towards creating a shared Priority Services Register. Breaking down barriers to data sharing means we’re able to help more people should they experience an issue with their water supply or require billing information to be communicated in a format tailored to their needs. This collaboration is a great example of essential services working together to make it easier for people to receive help when they need it most and we want more organisations to join this sharing network to ensure we reach every customer who needs support.”

Ian Cameron, head of customer services and innovation at UK Power Networks, said: “In the interests of our customers, we are working towards the aim of a single, shared Priority Services Register and breaking down complex barriers which have traditionally made it difficult to consolidate information from different sources. This partnership will demonstrate the value in collaborating with water companies and prove that we can join together to overcome the challenges and do the right thing for our shared customers.” 

The partnership with the UK Power Networks is part of wider changes to the way Thames Water registers people for the PSR. Last September, the company started registering customers under “substantial public interest”, allowing third parties like relatives, carers and charities to add someone on their behalf.

In March Thames Water announced it had partnered with London Fire Brigade to identify people through the Brigade’s Home Fire Safety Visits who may be more vulnerable if an emergency affects their water supply and who could benefit from being on the PSR. 

Thames Water customers who are living with long-term health conditions, mobility issues or qualify for a state pension can join the company’s free priority services register. Thames Water has over 245,000 customers signed up to its PSR but aims to have 410,000 by 2025.

Customers can find out if they qualify for the priority services register (PSR) and sign up by visiting Priority Services or calling 0800 009 3652.