The January cold snap has seen temperatures drop below freezing in certain areas of the UK, but a free support service called the Priority Services Register is providing help for people with diabetes and those in vulnerable situations.
The combination of cold weather and diabetes can be challenging for several reasons, including making it harder to draw blood from cold fingers for finger-prick tests. And during the cost-of-living crisis and the rise in energy prices over the past year, many people are now paying more for their gas and electricity to keep their homes warm.
It can be useful for people with diabetes to ask their energy supplier to be added to the Priority Services Register, which can offer several benefits.
What is the Priority Services Register?
If you live with diabetes, you are eligible to be added to the Priority Services Register.
This is a free support service that you can call 24 hours a day. It provides help to people in vulnerable situations if there’s a power cut or your gas or electricity supply is interrupted.
Both energy suppliers and network operators keep a Priority Services Register. And there are registers available in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The benefits of being added to the Register include:
- wherever possible, you will be given advanced noticed of scheduled power cuts. This can be useful if you rely on your energy supply for medical reasons, such as storing insulin in a fridge, so you can plan to keep your medication safe
- you will receive priority support in an emergency
- you will also receive priority support when calling your network operator.
How do I apply?
You can contact your energy supplier and ask to be added to their register. You can also ask for your supplier to pass your details to the network operator to add you to their register as well.
You can learn more about the registers, and apply here:
- Priority Services Register - England
- Priority Services Register - Scotland
- Priority Services Register - Wales
- (Customer) Care Register - Northern Ireland
What other help with home heating is available?
The energy regulator, Ofgem, has rules that mean suppliers must offer payment plans that households can afford. You can ask for ‘emergency credit’ if you use a prepayment meter and can’t top up.
If you are struggling to pay for energy or think you may get into difficulty, contact your supplier.
Help for Households includes information from the government about how to get help with your energy bills.
If you need any help with any aspect of living with diabetes, or just want to chat, don't forget to call our helpline on 0345 123 2399. We're open Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm. If it's outside that time — or at any other time, get support from others on our online Forum.