Community support in focus at Ipswich event

Electricity workers at UK Power Networks’ office in Ipswich have held two Partnership Days to forge closer connections with the communities they keep the lights on for.

The company’s office at Fore Hamlet includes a large customer service centre and its partner organisations and charities were invited in to meet staff and share best practice ahead of Carers Week 2018 (June 11-17).

Among those who attended on Monday and Tuesday (June 4 and 5) to talk to staff were Suffolk Family Carers, Repowering London, the British Red Cross, Interpreter Now and the Rural Coffee Caravan.

UK Power Networks owns and maintains the overhead lines, underground cables and substations which distribute electricity to eight million customers across the East of England, London and the South East.

The company works with many charities who support people who need extra help, and through these partners staff can better understand their needs. Employees can identify who would benefit from either energy advice or being on the Priority Services Register and then offer this support.

Anyone signed up to the register can receive free extra help if they ever have a power cut, such as hot meals, home visits and hotel accommodation. The register is for people who are in vulnerable circumstances, including older or disabled people, customers with conditions including dementia and autism, or families with young children.

Kerry Potter, priority services manager for UK Power Networks, said: “It is vital for us reach out into the communities we serve and ensure those most in need of extra help receive it when required.

“The partnership days were an opportunity for staff to learn what organisations do and understand more about the needs of customers for who a power cut could be worrying.

“All of our partnerships are designed to help ensure that customers who are most at risk feel confident that they know what to do during the rare event that is a power cut and that we know about them and their needs.”

David Grimmer, Health & Social Care Project Manager for Suffolk Family Carers, said: “It’s been a really useful couple of days for us as an organisation to meet staff and promote the partnership we have with UK Power Networks. The partnership is a useful one for family carers across Suffolk. It gives them another tool in their box when an emergency happens.”