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Northern Power Grid



NEWS RELEASE

04 September 2019

NORTHERN POWERGRID LAUNCHES NEW SERVICE TO SUPPORT CUSTOMERS

 

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 on 0800 169 2996.

 

Media contact: Joanne Kerrigan, Communications Manager on 0800 500 3175

 

Notes to editor:

·        Northern Powergrid is the electricity distribution business for North East England, Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire.  The company delivers power safely and reliably to 8 million customers across 3.9 million homes and businesses.

·        105 is the free number people in England, Scotland and Wales can call to report or get information about power cuts in their area or report damage to electricity power lines and substations. Funded by electricity distributors, including Northern Powergrid, it routes people to their local network operator. The service was launched in September 2016.

·        Northern Powergrid’s network consists of more than 63,000 substations and 60,000 miles of overhead power lines and underground cables, spanning some 9,650 square miles.