Maintaining Independence

Extra Help from Utility Suppliers

Support ranging from financial to difficulties due to cognitive, sensory, or physical ability is available and includes the free Priority Services Register (opens in a new tab) which aims to support and keep vulnerable people safe in their own home. 

Meter Readings

If it's difficult for you to access or take readings from your energy meters, you may wish to consider fitting a smart meter (opens in a new tab), which have additional benefits for prepayment customers (opens in a new tab).

If you have difficulty resetting trip switches or replacing fuses, repositioning a consumer unit can be done by an electrician without the need to contact your provider.

If you feel it necessary to have your meter moved, you should contact your energy provider (i.e. the name of the company on your bill) in the first place to move your gas or electricity meter (opens in a new tab) and if you're on the Priority Services Register (opens in a new tab), your supplier may move the meter for free. 

However, you may be advised by your energy provider that moving your meter will require an electrician and/or incur upfront costs that you will be expected to pay. 

If you are unable to access your meter or consumer unit due to a physical disability and are not able to meet such costs then, prior to any work commencing, you may request an Occupational Therapy assessment which will consider your needs and alternative options, which, depending upon your tenancy, may include making a recommendation to either the Private Sector Housing team or to your Social Housing Landlord for a Physical Adaptations Grant (opens in a new tab).

If you live in your own home or rent privately and you have a physical disability or are over 65, Care & Repair (opens in a new tab) may also be able to support you by arranging a local tradesman to assist with moving your meter or consumer unit.

Energy Providers

For more information about what support is available from your provider, please refer to the information below:

British Gas

British Gas Energy Trust (opens in a new tab) helps families and individuals experiencing hardship who are struggling with gas and electricity debts by awarding grants to clear those debts

Priority Services Register (opens in a new tab) provides essential services for vulnerable customers.

British Telecom

BT Help & Support (opens in a new tab) offers a selection of advice and factsheets to support you with a range of subjects from paying bills to how to use a telephone with a sensory impairment

BT Basic (opens in a new tab) is a low-cost, easy to understand package, which helps you keep in touch, even if money’s a bit tight

Protected Services Scheme (opens in a new tab) is designed to protect you if you can't or don't pay your phone bill because of exceptional circumstances, like being in hospital

BT Free Priority Fault Repair Scheme (opens in a new tab) aims to provide a fault-free service for vulnerable people, who are unable to leave the house because of an illness or disability and for who the telephone is a vital lifeline.  If you have a chronic long-term illness or a severe disability you can apply.  BT asks that your application is supported by a medical practitioner

195 Service (opens in a new tab) can help if you are unable to read or hold a telephone directory because of your sight loss or other disability to make use of a free directory enquiries service. You can use this service whether or not BT is your telephone company

SignVideo Interpreting Service (opens in a new tab) - If you use British Sign Language (BSL) and you’re a BT customer, you can get in touch with us using BSL and a webcam.

Next Generation Text Relay Service (opens in a new tab) can help if you're on the phone and you or your caller are struggling to understand or hear each other


Priority Services Register (opens in a new tab) gives you access to our friendly call centre staff, who can offer advice on a range of helpful and accessible services, at no extra cost to you.  Once you've registered, you can phone our Careline directly whenever you need to talk with us about your account.

SignVideo Interpreting Service (opens in a new tab) - Allows you to talk securely about your gas, electricity, phone and broadband or SSE boiler cover using British Sign Language (BSL). A BSL interpreter will relay your call to us, allowing you to discuss anything relating to your account.

Wales and West Utilities (Gas Emergency & Pipeline Service)

Priority Services Register (opens in a new tab) - Supporting Priority Customers (opens in a new tab) with additional services in relation to their communication, access and safety needs.  With your consent, we are able to pass your details onto the companies who are responsible for delivering and supplying electricity, gas and water to your home

Locking Cooker Valves (opens in a new tab) (free) - Suitable for customers who can no longer operate their gas cooker safely, such as people living with Alzheimer’s or Dementia, who may be at risk of harming themselves and their home by leaving gas unignited or forgetting to turn the hob

Free-of-charge gas meter moves - making sure customers are able to access their gas meters easily

Free gas connections through our Warm Home Assistance scheme (opens in a new tab)

Welsh Water

Priority Services Register (opens in a new tab) - We can help you with your water bill or water meter, offer practical help and potentially offer extra services if you are visually impaired, speech impaired, hard of hearing, elderly or have physical or learning disabilities

Help Paying My Water Bill (opens in a new tab) - Has various ways of supporting you fiancially to pay your bill

Western Power Distribution

Priority Services Register (opens in a new tab) - We can give you a direct number to call in the event of a power cut so you can get straight through to us; agree a password with you before we visit, so you feel safe; provide special help, if needed, through the British Red Cross; inform you about planned interruptions to your electricity supply; keep you as informed as possible in the event of an unplanned power cut. 

Switching Suppliers

uSwitch (opens in a new tab) is an online and telephone comparison and switching service that helps compare prices on products and services such as utilities, and may help you save money

You can also get advice on utility suppliers and switching your energy from Ofgem (opens in a new tab) or Citizens Advice (opens in a new tab)

ID: 2046, revised 01/11/2023