SCOTTISH and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) is encouraging blind and partially sighted people in Wiltshire to sign up for services that can provide extra assistance during power cuts.

SSEN’s Customer and Community Advisors, Melanie Grace and Helen Vass took part in the recent Wiltshire Sight Loss Information Day in Melksham, where they spoke about the network operator’s Priority Services Register (PSR) and the benefits it can bring to customers who may feel vulnerable due to a power cut, especially when it results from severe weather.

In addition to carers, local opticians, exhibitors from the Macular Society and the Chippenham and Melksham Talking Newspaper Association, over 50 blind and partially sighted local residents attended the event – which was supported by Melksham Town Council – and were keen to find out more about SSEN’s free service which supports its customers when they need it most.

Melanie Grace explains more: “At SSEN we have the welfare of our customers at the very heart of everything we do, so supporting those customers when they need it most, particularly those who may require extra assistance, is one of our main priorities.

“This is especially true during a power cut, or in advance of potential severe weather, where customers signed up to our Priority Services Register are given extra help and support to ensure they’re properly looked after.

“Taking part in this event has enabled us to reach customers who may not previously have been aware of this additional free service and by working with Wiltshire Sight we’ve now been able to include Priority Services Register leaflets in all of their joining packs.”

Glenda Woodville from Wiltshire Sight added: “At Wiltshire Sight, our aim is to help people living with sight loss to continue to live as independently as possible, and so we are delighted to be working with partners such as Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks to ensure clients are aware of the Priority Services Register and can access additional help and support when it is most needed.”

Customers can qualify for SSEN's Priority Services Register if they are dependent on electricity for home medical care; have a chronic illness or short term medical condition; are disabled; have special communication needs; have children under the age of five; are over the age of 60

By registering for SSEN’s PSR, customers will be contacted to warn them of potential bad weather to help them prepare and to offer extra support where required. SSEN’s teams will also keep in close and regular contact with its PSR customers during power cuts to check they are getting the help they need.

The free service also offers a special 24-hour priority services phone number and information formats including Braille, textphone, audio CD or foreign language

To find out more about the PSR, call 0800 294 3259.