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Thames Water partners with London Fire Brigade to support more customers

Thursday 18th March 2021 08:43

A man in a blue jacket delivers water to an elderly lady with a zimmer frame

Thames Water has partnered with London Fire Brigade (LFB) to help more customers in vulnerable circumstances join the company’s priority services register (PSR).

The capital’s fire service has agreed to help Thames Water identify people from its Home Fire Safety Visits who may be more vulnerable if an emergency affects their water supply, such as having mobility issues or communication needs, and would benefit from extra support.

The partnership aims to add up to 1,500 customers per month to the register – 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 them advanced warning of planned work which may risk an interruption to their water supply and provides tailored communication services.

Olivia Johnson, partnerships lead at Thames Water, said: “Working with London Fire Brigade 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. I’m incredibly proud of this partnership, working with LFB is a great example of essential services working together to make it easier for people to receive help when they need it most.”

The Brigade’s free home visits assess risks in a person’s home and provide personalised advice about fire safety and prevention. The Brigade will also provide and fit free smoke alarms if they are needed and help develop escape plans.

The Brigade’s Care, Health and Safeguarding Manager, Sharon Biggs, said: “We are pleased to join up with Thames Water on this project, which will further increase the ways we support vulnerable people in our communities.

“Our crews often signpost residents they have visited to other services which they may benefit from and this is an extension of that to ensure they get the right support should they be left without water.”

The new partnership with the Brigade 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.

When the Brigade identifies people who need extra support, they will provide Thames Water with their contact details but will not share information about that person’s medical or communication needs.

Thames Water will write to customers to inform them they are being added to the PSR, providing customers with an option to opt out or to share further information with them about what services and communication options they could benefit from, such as sending bills in large print, braille or on a coloured background.

Thames Water is also exploring ways to help the Brigade identify additional vulnerable residents who may benefit from a Home Fire Safety Visit.

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 125,000 customers signed up to its PSR but aims to have 410,000 by 2025.

Last year the water company teamed up with Age UK Berkshire to encourage older customers to join its PSR and has also partnered with the Renal Association and National Kidney Federation to encourage people living with kidney disease to sign up.

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.

Find out more about London Fire Brigade’s Home Fire Safety Visits.