Thousands of individuals in central southern England are yet to take advantage of free assistance available during power outages, according to data from Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN). 

SSEN, which covers Oxford, operates a Priority Service Register (PSR) - a service that offers extra support to qualifying customers during power disruptions.

Despite the proactive outreach efforts to engage with eligible groups, SSEN reports just over half of those eligible are registered in the PSR.

During recent events like Storm Henk, registered customers received additional aid, including early warning calls, while SSEN engineers worked to restore power.

These supports are tailored to individual circumstances with levels adjusted per situation.

However, it seems that thousands of potential beneficiaries are still not part of the register.

SSEN's Ridgeway region has close to 585,000 households extending from Andover to Chippenham, with Oxford and Swindon in between.

Currently, only around 132,600 customers take advantage of the PSR service.

Given this, SSEN has initiated a New Year campaign intended to increase awareness about the service and the process of signing-up.

Eligibility for the PSR includes individuals over 60, households with children under five, disabled or chronically ill individuals, those who are blind or partially sighted, deaf or hard of hearing and those relying on medical equipment or aids that depend on electricity.

Emma Merritt, SSEN distribution’s customer vulnerability and communities lead, said: "It’s become clear to us, through SSEN’s latest data research, that there are many more people across Ridgeway who could benefit from the free, additional support we provide through the PSR.

"I’d encourage everyone to take a few minutes to think about how they’d manage if the power was to go off unexpectedly, then to get in touch with us if they think they’d need a bit of extra assistance.

“Being part SSEN’s PSR can offer our customers the extra peace of mind that comes with knowing help is out there on the rare occasions there is a fault on our network, or if the risk of bad weather may cause damage to the electricity infrastructure and cause a power cut."

The PSR provides a dedicated 24-hour services phone number, priority updates during power disruptions, nominated contact option for SSEN to reach out to, and information in most suitable format including Braille or audio CD.

The service also maintains confidentiality through the use of a security password for safe communication.

For enrolment in the PSR, SSEN has provided detailed information in 11 different languages and easy access to relevant documents on its official website.

Free telephone assistance on freephone 0800 294 3259 is also available.