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About SUM

How we started

In 2019, Scope set up a unique membership for utilities companies. It was set up due to considerable overlap of priorities of both utilities and scope’s work and concerns.

Together, we discuss how companies are helping disabled people. And we explore what we can do in the future with industry trends. We work on schemes to:

  • inform customers
  • help with energy efficiency
  • help disabled people with their utilities


For many in the disabled community, utilities are an extra pressure. This might be extra washing, heating, or electrical draw from medical equipment. Or it’s simply the extra cost of being disabled affecting the ability to pay utility bills.

Utility companies are in a fairly unique position. They are in part responsible for the welfare of their consumers in their own homes. Utility companies have a regulated duty to keep the power, gas, and water flowing into everyone’s homes across the country.

We set up the SUM because more than a third of disabled adults say that their impairment or condition has a significant effect on their energy costs. People with limited mobility, for example, might have to use more heating to keep warm. While others who use assistive technology need extra electricity to charge these items.

We know that disabled people are more likely to have lower incomes and live in fuel poverty compared to non-disabled households. Households with a disabled person make up 38 per cent of all fuel poor households in England alone.

We also know that disabled people spend a higher proportion of their income on energy and water.

Our goals and achievements

With the SUM our goal was simple:

  • To help reduce costs and improve utility services for disabled people
  • Tackle the everyday issues disabled people face paying for bills and accessing support services

Our membership is currently made up of 8 members:

  • South East Water
  • OVO
  • UK Power Networks
  • Scottish Gas Network
  • Wales and West Utilities
  • Anglian Water
  • EDF
  • Outfox the Market

Since 2019 we’ve had many achievements. These include:

  • helping expand knowledge and sign ups to the PSR
  • training staff from across the industry. This is through free workshops as part of the membership
  • developed innovated schemes for social change
  • offered direct help to those in need

We have grown from our original 3 members to have cross sector coverage. Covering Gas, Electric, and Water with distributors, suppliers, and generators of all 3.

Together with our partners we have also presented our Cost-of-Living report. This includes recommendations for the industry. This will guide our work for the coming year. And our members are actively taking note and listening and learning with us. Please see page 36 of our report for the aims we will be working towards together.

So, what does the future look like?

We have ambitious plans. We want to combat the cost-of-living crisis and fuel poverty. This will help us meet our goal of removing the barriers society puts in place for disabled people.’

Alongside this, we will:

  • look into working with our partners’ schemes to directly tackle fuel poverty
  • be looking for new ways to help the disabled community become more energy efficient
  • be involved in a fairer net zero transition to help those without the spending power to buy the cheaper, green energy of the future
  • explore the accessibility of the industry in the employment of disabled people
  • giving a voice to the disabled community

We aim to do much more and we hope you will join us on that journey!

Meet the members

Partner with us

We believe partnerships can help us build a more inclusive and accessible society. One where disabled people experience equality and fairness.

To do this, we partner with organisations to work on larger strategic goals together. For wider social change. For their customers. For their clients. For their employees.

Partner with Scope