Giving our customers the support they need

This year, SSE has once again helped over 330,000 of our most vulnerable customers through the government’s Warm Home Discount scheme.

The scheme provides a range of assistance for customers in particular circumstances, for example with a disability or long term illness, or who are elderly and on a low income. The assistance available can include a credit towards winter fuel bills, debt relief, free energy efficient appliances and benefit entitlement checks.

It’s an important scheme which helps us reach many of our most vulnerable customers, so they get the assistance they need.  We find that a lot of customers are not aware that this support is available or if they are eligible, therefore identifying vulnerable customers in need of our help can be a significant challenge for us.

However our trained and dedicated front line customer service advisors, who are having helpful conversations with our customers every day, coupled with partners such as Citizens Advice, Energy Action Scotland, National Energy Action  and Macmillan, all play a vital role in helping to identify those in need and delivering  the required support.

This proactive approach is why we’ve been able to help over 330,000 customers this year, including 99,000 through the WHD ‘broader’ group - 6,000 more customers than last year. It’s also why we’ve been able to help over 3,500 through our Priority Assistance Fund which offers debt relief and electrical appliances to households who are particularly vulnerable and struggling with their fuel bills.

Also, through our partnership with Social Enterprise Direct to provide benefit entitlement checks, we’ve been able to help over 200 of our customers increase their household income, with an average increase of £3,761 per household a year.  This is additional income they may have not known they were entitled to and may have never claimed.

Although we are pleased with the success of the Warm Home Discount this year, it’s important to highlight that we are dedicated to helping each and every one of our customers with the advice and support they need, irrespective of their circumstances or situation. We also would encourage any customer who may be worried about their fuel bills to get in touch.

We can help customers find ways to save money, provide energy efficiency advice and free installation measures or change payment plans to better suit a customer’s specific circumstances. This assistance is underpinned by our Customer Service Guarantee which will give our customer’s money back if we fail to deliver on a set of important service promises.

Most recently, we have committed to doing even more and keep prices as low as possible for as long as possible with the industry’s longest ever unconditional price freeze – freezing prices until 2016.

At SSE we’re here to help each and every one of our customers in any way we can and these are just some of the ways we are working to do just that.

Any customer worried about their energy bills or looking for help and advice can contact SSE on 0800 300 111. Applications for SSE’s Warm Home Discount scheme for 2014/15 will open in July.

About the author

Annette Sloan Priority Service Co-ordinator

Annette Sloan is Priority Services Co-ordinator at SSE. She is part of the Customer Relations team and has responsibility for the delivery of the Warm Home Discount scheme, which provides assistance to low income vulnerable customers.

Read more articles by Annette Sloan