Our response to the coronavirus

The health and safety of our employees, Members and Partners is paramount, and we’re following government guidance to keep everyone safe and well in these challenging times. Click here to read the Government's latest advice.

See below for how we're managing key functions - and we apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

How we’re managing our services

We’re doing everything to make sure our call centres run smoothly, with all our teams working from home to support our Members.

Please help us to protect our services for the vulnerable and those most in need by first using our online help to answer your query.

How we’re managing visits from engineers

Smart meter installation

In line with the Government’s recent easing of lockdown restrictions, our engineers will begin fitting smart meters again where it is safe to do so.

Our engineers will follow strict safety rules during their visit. They’ll wear full protective gear, wipe down all surfaces, and carry out all work while adhering to the Government’s guidelines on social distancing. 

If anyone in your family has symptoms of coronavirus, or if you're on a Government shielding list, please let us know. We’ll postpone your appointment for you until it's safe to continue.

For important information about the steps we’re taking to keep you safe, please click here. And you can read our risk assessments for field operations, vehicle operations and delivery operations.

If you had your  appointment cancelled during the lockdown period, we’ll be in touch as soon as possible to arrange an alternative date and time. 

LED light bulb installation

Unfortunately, we’re unable to restart our free LED light bulb fitting service at the current time.

If you’ve already had your appointment confirmed, we’ll be in touch as soon as possible to arrange an alternative date and time.

Landline and broadband appointments 

Along with the above changes to our smart meter service, Openreach engineers are now permitted to enter your home to carry out an installation.

We’ll confirm your appointment by email. Two days before your appointment, Openreach will send you a text with a link to this short video, which shows you what to expect on the day, and the precautions that will be taken to help keep you safe.

Openreach will ask you to reply to this text with the word “Watched” – as confirmation that you’re happy for the appointment to go ahead. If you don’t text back, they will then try to call you on the next working day.

How to prepare for your appointment

  • Clear a path to the main telephone socket if you have one.

  • Wipe down any surfaces around the socket that the engineer may come into contact with.

  • Open any doors or windows if possible where the engineer is likely to work.

  • We suggest you keep any pets in a separate room to where the engineer is working.
     

On the day of your appointment
 

  • The engineer will give you a call before they arrive, and will ask you a few screening questions.

  • The engineer will arrive in an Openreach branded van and will be wearing an Openreach uniform and Personal Protective Equipment. They’ll have an ID badge.

  • If they can’t reach you over the phone, the engineer will try to complete the installation outside of the premises.

How to top-up your prepayment meters

Leaving the house to top up your meter qualifies as essential travel. As long as you’re not displaying symptoms or living in a household where somebody has had symptoms in the last 14 days, you can leave your home to top up your prepayment meter at your closest PayPoint, Payzone or Post Office.

If you’re unable to leave your home we suggest you contact friends or family to see if they can help. Even if you’re currently feeling well, it’s good to have a plan in place, in case your circumstances change. 

If you’re unable to get to a shop with a PayPoint yourself and have nobody around to help you, then please call us on 0333 777 3247. Please also call if you’re struggling to find an open shop with a PayPoint.

You can check the PayPoint website to find your nearest top-up location.

How we’re handling emergency fault repair appointments

Emergency fault repairs are still a priority. Engineers will assess the situation and work to fix the problem from outside your home whenever possible. This includes remote repairs at the exchange. Where a fault can't be fixed without entering your property, strict Openreach service protocols will be followed. The appointment may also need to be rescheduled.

How to get help in an electricity or gas emergency

If you smell gas, think you have a gas leak, or are worried about carbon monoxide, call 0800 111 999 immediately. It’s open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and you'll be connected to the National Gas Emergency line. 

If you have an electrical emergency or a power cut, call your local electricity network operator by calling 105 from any phone. They’re available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and it's free of charge.

How we’re managing Automatic Compensation for phone and broadband orders and faults

Due to the coronavirus situation – which led to delays in the provision and repair of some services – we temporarily paused the Automatic Compensation scheme from 24 March 2020. 

This pause was in line with guidance issued by Ofcom, the government-approved communications industry regulator. Ofcom has now advised that the following components of Auto Compensation can be resumed from 1 June 2020:

  • We’ll be able to pay Automatic Compensation for any missed appointments. 

  • We’ll compensate for delays in completing phone and broadband orders where engineers aren’t required to enter the premises.


If a network fault is found 

As before, Members with a loss of phone or broadband service will be given a credit for their service charge after the fault is fixed.

Please note: This page will be updated once Automatic Compensation is resumed. Click here for more details about the scheme.

How to access Government and health information on your mobile

From 1 April 2020 access to the following websites from a UW mobile is free:

NHS England: nhs.uk

NHS Scotland: nhsinform.scot

NHS Scotland: nhs24.scot

Northern Ireland Government: nidirect.gov.uk

Health in Wales (English): wales.nhs.uk

Health in Wales (Welsh): wales.nhs.uk/gigcymruamdanomni

Health and Social care online Northern Ireland: online.hscni.net

UK Government: gov.uk

UK Government coronavirus information: gov.uk/coronavirus

Support for Members in financial difficulty paying their bills

We understand this may be a difficult time for many Members. If you’re experiencing financial difficulty paying your bill, please contact us on 0333 777 0777

We have a specialist team who’ll be able to review your circumstances and find a solution tailored to your needs, which may include a payment holiday. And we’ll never charge you interest on a special payment arrangement. 

Please do not cancel your direct debit without talking to us first, as this will automatically change your energy tariff. Instead, call our specialist team on 0333 777 0777 so that we can discuss one of the many ways we may be able to help, for example stopping or postponing a payment. 

We’ll never disconnect your energy supply, but it’s also important to contact us on 0333 777 0777 if you think you’re likely to miss a scheduled payment, so you don’t lose access to your phone and broadband services.  

Click here for the latest Government advice on work, available financial support and money. 

How you can improve your broadband connection at home

During this time you may be at home using their broadband a lot more and sharing their connection with other people in the house. To optimise your broadband see this help page

If you are a Standard Broadband Member we offer two Fibre broadband services which provide faster speeds. These are:
 

  • Ultra – average speed 35 mbps

  • Ultra Plus – average speed 63 mbps
     

For more information on upgrading your broadband to fibre please contact us on 0333 777 0777

Please note: We’re currently operating with a reduced number of Member service advisors, many of whom are now working from home, but we’ll do our best to help you.

How you can manage your mobile as you use it more

During this time, you may be using their mobile a lot more to keep in touch with family and friends. You can choose from a wide range of great value tariffs in the Clubhouse.

Tip: If you’re at home, remember to switch on your mobile’s Wi-Fi connection so that it connects through your home broadband instead of using your mobile data allowance.

How to control how much you spend on your mobile

If you'd like to have more control of your spending on calls and data, you can activate a budget control option that stops you from going past your set tariff limit. When the tariff limit is reached there's the option to top up via the Clubhouse or by calling ‘150’ from your UW mobile.

How you can manage your landline as you use it more

During this time, you may be using your phone a lot more to keep in touch with family and friends. The following flexible call bundles are available to you:
 

  • Peak Saver - Provides unlimited calls to UK landline numbers (beginning 01, 02, 03) and UK mobile numbers, at any time.

  • Off Peak Saver - Provides unlimited calls to UK landline numbers (beginning 01, 02 and 03) and UK mobiles, on weekdays from 7pm to 7am and on weekends.

  • International Boost - Includes an allowance of 1,000 minutes every month (in total) to 50 top international destinations.
     

To add a call bundle visit the Clubhouse.

How to get help managing your energy account

If you think you need some extra support to manage your energy account, we offer free priority services if you: 
 

  • are of pensionable age

  • are disabled or chronically sick

  • have a long-term medical condition

  • have a hearing or visual impairment or additional communication needs

  • consider yourself to be in a vulnerable situation
     

If you’d like to speak to us about our Priority Services Register, please call us on 0333 777 0777 and we’ll be happy to help.  

How you can improve your energy efficiency at home

We’re spending more time at home, so your energy consumption has likely increased. A great source of information to help keep this under control is the Energy Savings Trust.

Support for Members whose businesses have slowed down

If your business is still open but quieter than usual, please call our UW for Business team on 0344 815 0506 with an up-to-date meter reading, so we can assess the status of your account.

Whilst our trading is lower than usual, we also recommend that you provide us with monthly readings on the last day of every month. This will help us to bill you for what you’ve actually used, instead of estimating usage based on your normal flow of trade.

Support for Members who’ve temporarily or permanently closed their business

If your business has temporarily closed, please call our UW for Business team on 0344 815 0506 and they’ll be able to advise on your situation. We recommend you have an up-to-date meter reading to hand when you call. We can look at temporarily reducing your billed usage as your premises are closed, which means you’ll only get invoiced for any standing charges or phone services you have. Once you’ve reopened, please call us again to let us know.

If you’ve had to close your business permanently, we’re very sorry to hear that. Please call our UW for Business team on 0344 815 0506 and we’ll do everything we can to help resolve the status of your account.