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Thames Water and national disability charity Sense helping more customers with complex needs

Wednesday 3rd August 2022 11:57

  • Thames Water’s priority services register helps customers who need extra support during a supply interruption and provides tailored communications
  • Partnership to help raise awareness of the extra support the business can give to customers who live with complex disabilities in its region with 4,000 joining the priority services register since the partnership launched in January 2022.
  • Thames Water provides a doorstep password scheme to help protect customers from bogus callers.

Thames Water and national disability charity Sense are encouraging those customers and families of people with complex disabilities to join Thames Water’s priority services register.

Since January 2022 Sense has signposted its London and Thames Valley based community to Thames Water’s priority services and shared information about the register via its communications platforms such as its social media and website and through its charity shops. 

From December 2021 to June 2022, 2,000 people who are Blind or partially sighted and 2,370 people who have hearing or speech disabilities have joined the priority services register (PSR). 

The two organisations have recently worked with Charlotte, who is supported by Sense, on a video to raise awareness of the register. The campaign highlights how the PSR can help customers who need tailored communications such as large print bills or extra support during a supply interruption. Thames Water also provides a 24-hour helpline for customers on the PSR and all customers can sign up to the company’s doorstep password scheme to help protect them from bogus callers.

Charlotte said: “Water is something we can take for granted and if water wasn’t coming out of the tap, I’d be unsure about what to do next. It puts me at ease knowing that Thames Water are out there doing something for people like me and other people that have an eyesight problem or other disabilities. I would definitely recommend the priority register service to anyone that could use it.”

Peter CottonSenior Lead for Vulnerability, Inclusive Service and Affordability at Thames Water said: “Our priority services register is available for families and individuals that might need more help in the way we communicate with them or need more support if there is an issue with their water supply. Working together with Sense we’ve been raising awareness of the priority services register and its benefits to customers and families of customers who have complex needs. It’s important these customers know we’re there to lend a helping hand and this incredible partnership with Sense means we’re able to help more customers access our support services."

Richard Kramer, Chief Executive of Sense, said: “Sense is proud to be working with Thames Water to help more people with complex disabilities get the support they need in case of a water supply disruption. It’s vital that no one is left out of life and that barriers to communication are removed - it’s great to be working on this together with Thames Water.” 

Research by Sense estimates there are up to 179,938 people living in London with complex disabilities.  

How the PSR can support you

During a supply interruption PSR 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, helping customer to prepare or make alternative arrangements for themselves or their families. The service also provides tailored communication services such as bills in large print, audio, or braille.

Thames Water is continuing to improve accessibility for its customers and launched SignVideo on its website on January 4. The service provides instant access to British Sign Language interpreting for customers to communicate with the company’s employees.

In September 2021, Thames Water launched its partnership with Berkshire Vision to help more customers with visual impairments. In 2020, the water company teamed up with Age UK Berkshire to encourage older customers to join its PSR and has also introduced the British Sign Language app into its support services for customers who are Deaf to enable more inclusive and accessible communications.

Thames Water customers who are living with long-term health conditions, mobility issues or qualify for a pension can join the company’s free priority services register. Thames Water has over 280,000 customers signed up to its PSR but aims to have 410,000 by 2025.

Customers can find out if they qualify for the PSR and sign up by visiting Priority Services or calling 0800 009 3652. Relatives, charities, and carers can also visit the priority services page and fill in a simple to use application form, to sign up a customer on their behalf. 

How the doorstep password scheme can help you

Bogus callers may try to enter customer’s homes by pretending to be from their water, electric, gas or phone company. 

To prevent this, Thames Water operates a doorstep password scheme for all its customers. Once customers are registered for the service, any callers from Thames Water must be able to quote their password before customers let them in to their property. 

To register for the doorstep password scheme, call Thames Water on 0800 316 9800. If a customer’s hearing or speech is impaired, they can contact Thames Water using Relay UK.

Tips for stopping bogus callers

  • If you’re not expecting a visit and you’re unsure, don’t answer the door
  • Always confirm the caller's name and which company they’re from.
  • Always ask to see their ID card. Send them away if they don’t have one.
  • Look for a company van or car with a logo.
  • To double check their details, ask them to wait in their car while you call the company they're from. If that’s us, call us on 0800 316 9800.