Coronavirus update – residents
We confirm that we have complied with government guidance for managing the risk from Covid-19. You can view our confirmation certificate here
Following the Government’s announcement regarding the England lockdown we are continuing to attend and complete maintenance visits scheduled over the key winter period, where more customers than usual will be working from home and are reliant upon their heat and hot water facilities.
We have a comprehensive set of safety questions (see update 24/09/20) which we ask prior to the visit designed to keep the customer and the visiting engineer safe.
This also applies to Scotland and Wales.
We have made updates to our procedure for booking in engineer visits to properties based on government guidelines.
Where a Switch2 engineer is booked to attend a customer property the following steps should be adhered to in order to achieve a suitable level of protection for the employee and the resident(s):
Switch2 will speak to the household to establish any COVID-19 related risk. This information will be recorded and will consist of the following questions:
1. Do you have any symptoms of coronavirus (a high temperature, a new continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste?)
2. Have you tested positive for coronavirus?
3. Do you live with someone who has symptoms or has tested positive?
4. Have you been instructed to self-isolate because someone in your “support bubble” has symptoms or has tested positive?
5. Have you been instructed to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace?
6. Have you recently arrived in the UK from a country with a high coronavirus risk?
The engineer will also contact you to enquire whether there have been any changes in circumstance since the appointment was made.
Depending on the response to the COVID related questions there are a number of steps:
- If the resident answers yes to any of the questions and the visit is not to carry out emergency/urgent works then the resident will be advised that we must postpone the job to a later date in line with official guidance.
- If the resident answers yes to any of the above questions and the visit is to carry out emergency/urgent works, the job can still go ahead but with extra caution and vigilance whilst in the property.
We will also be considerate of shielding, isolating and vulnerable customers.
All services are fully operating. We are operating as per government guidance surrounding Covid-19 measures.
Following careful consideration and planning Switch2 is now responding to all non-essential calls, project work and planned maintenance visits.
Our engineers are to follow a strict procedure in line with social distancing and they will also be fully equipped with the appropriate protective equipment. The engineers will communicate this to you when arriving at your property and ensure both yours and their safety at all times.
We are currently only responding to urgent calls and emergencies for heating, water and leaks.
We have now allocated additional technical triage personnel to assist customers in trying to rectify issues remotely, where possible.
We are working hard to keep our services running as smoothly as possible in all other areas.
- We are focusing on remote diagnosis and support where possible to be able to respond to issues without having to send out engineers.
- We have a well-resourced engineering team and contact centre. However, demand is extremely high at peak times so please try to call at off peak times or e-mail non-urgent enquiries, where possible.
- For emergency call outs safety for staff and residents is our priority. Engineers have protective equipment and have been trained in social distancing and how to operate safely in a property and whilst in transport.
- It is vital we are made aware if you are self-isolating before we attend the property so the appropriate safety measures can be put in place.
Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on 23/03/20, we can confirm that our services are still operating well, as outlined previously. We have a well-resourced engineering team and contact centre. However, demand is extremely high at peak times so please try to call at off peak times or e-mail non-urgent enquiries, where possible.
We have prioritised emergency call outs (any problems with water, heat or leaks). All non-essential maintenance has been put on hold.
Safety for staff and residents is our priority. Staff have protective equipment and have been trained in social distancing and how to operate safely in a property and whilst in transport.
It is vital we are made aware if you are self-isolating before we attend your property. We also need to know if this has changed since the appointment was booked. For example, if when the appointment was booked you were not self-isolating, but since then you now are self-isolating, we must be informed before the appointment is carried out.
Switch2 are at an advanced stage in our contingency plans to protect the health and wellbeing of our staff and residents and how we plan to manage the services to our clients throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Switch2 intends to work in line with the approach of other utility suppliers as outlined in the Government’s press release published 19/03/20: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-agrees-measures-with-energy-industry-to-support-vulnerable-people-through-covid-19
Below we outline our specific approach to delivering services to customers, with particular attention to vulnerable customers.
What if I can’t get out to top up my meter due to vulnerability or self-isolating?
Residents who are vulnerable or self-isolating should seek help from family or friends to assist with top up payments. If this is not possible speak to your landlord or Switch2.
An alternative is to set up an online account which enables you to make payments to ensure your heat is unaffected. The customer website is my.switch2.co.uk
You can also top up over the phone: 0333 313 9171.
Will my supply be cut off?
No. To ensure no one is left without heat or hot water we have suspended disconnections.
What if I can’t pay my bill?
We commit to supporting customers through this time with flexible payment options available. As already stated, customers will not be disconnected at this time.
Will my online bill be affected?
No. If you receive bills electronically you will be unaffected. Log in to my.switch2.co.uk to access electronic bills and further information.
Will I receive my paper bill?
Yes, we will endeavour to get bills out to residents, however we are putting contingency measures in place. If you currently receive paper bills, we will be uploading an electronic version onto our customer portal. This can be accessed via the website my.switch2.co.uk and residents will need their customer reference number which can be viewed on the top right hand corner of a previous bill. This is a contingency in place in case we have any issues sending out paper bills.
What if I have a problem with my heat or hot water?
Contact Switch2 or your landlord if you have a problem. Switch2 are prioritising responding to urgent calls and emergencies and are currently responding to these within usual response times.
What shall I do if I am self-isolating?
Where our engineers are accessing properties to complete a repair or replace equipment, we are asking residents to let us know if they are currently self-isolating prior to arranging an engineer’s visit.
Our engineers have been briefed on recommended best practice hygiene factors and will work with the resident to ensure that they are minimising any risk to them or themselves during their visit to the property.
We have increased vigilance in this area as the situation worsens and engineers are now calling ahead to residents and checking the status to make sure we are prepared and safe. We are constantly reviewing safety measures.
Switch2 contact centre availability
If I have a problem are Switch2 staff still available?
Yes. In order to protect our staff and ensure continuity of service we have now fully deployed home working for all staff in these critical teams. They are operating as normal with full access to systems and records. Currently we have good response times and we endeavour to maintain our high service standards.
To help us focus on the urgent and emergency calls we kindly ask for all non-urgent requests for information to be emailed across to us to free up the phone lines for urgent requests.
Taking the steps above we are confident in our operations facing minimal interruption at this time. However, we understand the situation is changing rapidly and we are reviewing our processes as required. We will be in contact with any relevant updates.