Northern Powergrid, the company responsible for the electricity network that powers everyday life for more than 8 million people across the North East, Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire, has launched a new service to help customers who are British Sign Language users get the information they need about an electricity connection or power cut.
The innovative InterpretersLive! video interpreting service, delivered in partnership with Sign Solutions, connects customers to an online, fully qualified British Sign Language interpreter with just one click. The interpreter will then communicate in real-time with customer advisors in Northern Powergrid’s award-winning contact centre.
Catherine Harris, Northern Powergrid’s consumer vulnerability manager, said: “We want our customers to receive the support they need, when they need it, and have a real choice when it comes to talking with us about getting an electricity connection or receiving support in a power cut.
“By working with a specialised organisation like Sign Solutions, we’re able to provide increased accessibility, for our customers who use British Sign Language, as their first and preferred language. This new video interpreting service is easy to use and will help improve peoples’ experience with us. We hope it will help make a real difference for thousands of people in the communities we serve who are deaf.”
Clare Vale, managing director of Sign Solutions, said: “Northern Powergrid is using technology to become more inclusive and help deaf customers lead an independent life. This is a positive step forward and will help transform the way the electricity network operator interacts with its customers across the region.”
Customers who’d like to use the service will need a computer, tablet or phone that has a camera and internet connection and should visit northernpowergrid.com/BSL-interpreter.
Sign language interpreters will be available seven days a week between 8am and midnight. The new video interpreting service builds on Northern Powergrid’s existing Text Relay and Minicom services which support customers who are deaf or have hearing loss and find communicating by telephone difficult.
Northern Powergrid also has a free Priority Services Register for anyone with a disability, medical condition or a very young family, who may need greater assistance during a power cut. Local people, regardless of who they choose to buy their electricity supply from, can sign up online or by calling the electricity network operator’s Powergrid Care team in the UK on 0800 169 2996.