Preparing for power cuts
How to prepare for a power cut
Following these steps can minimise the effect of a power cut. You can implement these if you’ve been alerted to a planned power cut in your area but it’s useful to keep these in mind in case of unplanned cuts as well.
- Save emergency numbers to your phone. 0800111999 is the gas emergency number in case you smell gas during a power cut. 105 is the dedicated and free power cut emergency number.
- Keep a mobile phone fully charged so you can check for updates online, use it to call an emergency number, or check in on vulnerable family and friends.
- Keep a torch handy in case you lose power overnight.
- Keep blankets and warm clothes nearby to keep warm without heating.
- Have food that doesn’t need heating available.
- Check-in with friends, family and neighbours about their plans for a power cut and encourage them to make one.
If you feel like you need additional support, you can sign up to the Priority Services Register (PSR).
The Priority Services Register helps to protect people in vulnerable circumstances
While a power cut is disruptive to everyone, people in vulnerable circumstances must protect themselves however they can.
The PSR is a free service for people in England, Scotland and Wales that helps people with additional needs. The type of help available will vary depending on your circumstances, but support includes:
- Notice of planned interruptions to your electricity or water supply.
- Advice on preparing for a power cut or water outage and what to do if it happens. If necessary, a cold weather crisis pack can be supplied (where available).
- Support in an emergency, such as providing heating and cooking facilities or accommodation, as well as direct contact and updates. Free bottled water can be supplied, or in the case of a power cut, a generator for the medical equipment you depend on to stay safe.
- A direct number to call to get straight through to the network operator in the event of an unplanned power cut.
- Additional help with bills, such as being sent in a different language or in Braille.
- Passwords can be set up for when suppliers need to visit you for extra security.
If any of the following apply to you, you can sign up:
- You’re aged over 60.
- You rely on electricity for medical reasons or mobility equipment.
- You have a hearing or visual impairment.
- You have a disability or long-term health condition.
- You have a child under 5.
- You have a health condition which makes it difficult for you to understand your bills or to stay warm at home.
- Anything else which would cause you to feel vulnerable in a power cut or water outage such as mental health.
If you rely on medical equipment at home, you must understand what will happen to the equipment during a power cut. If you’re unsure, speak to your healthcare provider as soon as possible to make sure your equipment is backed up and has been serviced recently. You can also check any additional steps you might need to take to be safe.
While you’ll be able to receive additional support by signing up for the PSR, be aware that if your area is included in a planned power cut, your home will still lose power along with other homes in the area.
If you’ve already signed up for the PSR, please take some time to ensure your personal information is up to date so that help can reach you if you need it. Contact your energy supplier to do this.
What to do after a power cut
Power should return to your home automatically and within one hour after the expected time of reconnection. If you’re still without power, you can
- Visit your local network operator’s website to report the fault and find updates.
- Visit powercut105.com or call 105 for assistance, but please be aware phone lines will likely be extremely busy and so going online will probably be the quickest way to report a problem.