SIX IN A ROW FOR BRITISH STANDARD FOR INCLUSIVE SERVICE PROVISION ACCREDITATION
Northern Powergrid, the company responsible for the network that powers everyday life for 8 million customers and 3.9 million homes and businesses in the North East, Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire, has again achieved accreditation with the BSI Inclusive Service Provision for Vulnerable Customers standard (BSI 18477) for the sixth successive year.
The nationally recognised British Standard measures Northern Powergrid’s understanding of its services that support customers who are at risk of being vulnerable in a power cut. The standard looks at how it applies this understanding across its business activities, services, policies and procedures to support its customers if they are part of an everyday power cut.
As part of the audit, the network operator demonstrated the range of services it offers and its targeted priority services recruitment and promotion strategy to help ensure that vulnerable customers, who’d benefit from extra support, are encouraged to join its Priority Services Membership.
By knowing who needs additional support Northern Powergrid can proactively support vulnerable customers affected by a typical power cut situation with a range of services including customer support vehicles, hot food and generator provision depending on the situation. It can also offer extra communications support such as text relay, text messaging, British Sign Language video interpreting and other online services to help customers looking for a new connection to the region’s power network or needing support in a power cut.
Louise Lowes, Head of Customer Services, said: “Our teams work hard to support our customers who may need may need extra support due to their medical or personal circumstances and make our services inclusive. This standard recognises their dedication to caring for our customers.
“The audit is detailed and assesses our practices and procedures. Through the audit were able to demonstrate how we invest in research to help better understand the different vulnerabilities in the communities we serve so we can shape, deliver and continue to improve our support services. We were also able to share information about some of our future plans to further improve the everyday services we can offer our customers.
“We are moving into a new phase of excellence with our additional service offering as we transition from BSI Inclusive Service Standard to The Kitemark (Energy) Inclusive Service Standards. The new standard is broader and we will need to continue to demonstrate our commitment, service standards and development in more detail. This standard is internationally recognised, and we welcome this journey to further evidence how we are meeting our customers’ needs when they need us most.”
Northern Powergrid offers customers who may have a serious health condition, be medically dependent on electricity, of pensionable age, have very young children or have mental health or specific communication needs, access to free Powergrid Care support services if they have a power cut. Customers can sign up friends or family – as well as themselves – to Northern Powergrid’s free Priority Services Membership at any time by visiting northernpowergrid.com/care or calling 0800 169 2996.
Northern Powergrid’s website also offers important information about how to get a new connection to the region’s power network, report a power cut and get updates. Customers can also follow Northern Powergrid’s 24-hour Twitter (@northpowergrid) and Facebook pages or use their mobile to visit its online interactive power cut map. Customer service advisors are available 24/7 at the electricity distributor’s contact centre and can be contacted by calling 105 - the free, easy-to-remember power cut number.
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