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If you have a power cut, text Power followed by your postcode, (e.g. Power IP3 6QX) to 80876.
We will provide you with regular updates, until your power is restored.
A power cut is treated as an emergency, so you can speak to someone 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Our three emergency numbers are shown on the left. Please use the one for your area.
During a power cut, we can keep you updated with text messages. If you have a power cut in your area, text 'Power' followed by your postcode, e.g. Power IP3 6QX to 80876. We will provide you with regular updates, until your power is restored.
If you are reliant on electricity for medical equipment – or have other special needs – we understand that a power cut is especially worrying. If we know where you are, we can help.
We like to keep contact details of all our customers, who are most vulnerable in the event of a power cut. Although this doesn’t necessarily mean we can restore your power more quickly, it does mean we can offer you additional help and support.
If the power cut only affects you, we won’t know about it until you, or someone close to you, calls us. We’ll then do everything we can to support and advise you, with regular updates on when power may be restored. If you agree, we can also ask the British Red Cross to visit to offer you extra help and support.
We can include you on our register if you are:
If you satisfy these conditions and live in our network area – London, the South East of England or the East of England – simply download our application form, complete your details and send them to: email@example.com or Priority Services
Co-ordinator, UK Power Networks, Fore Hamlet, Ipswich, IP3 8AA
If you have any questions, or can’t print out the application form, please contact us by telephone on: 0800 169 9970 (This is an answer phone service. Please leave your name and telephone number and your call will be returned as soon as possible).
Sometimes we may need to switch off your power while we work on electricity cables nearby. For example, we could be replacing or repairing an underground cable or equipment that is old or damaged. Or we could be making changes to overhead lines because one of your neighbours has asked us to. For our engineers to carry out this work safely, we have to switch off the electricity supplies serving the area.
But don’t worry - we will tell you before we do that unless it’s an emergency situation. We’ll send you a note through your door, in advance, that will give you the times we expect to switch off the power and when it is due back on (cards shown below).
For helpful advice during a power cut, click here
If you need to contact us, call us at any time of the day or night on the numbers to the left-hand side of the screen. If we have sent you a card in the post, the relevant engineer’s contact number should be on there.
It isn’t always possible to predict, however, here are some precautions you can take if you do have a power cut:
If your power goes off:
After the power cut
Our automatic alarm systems usually alert us of any large power cuts. With smaller power cuts, however, we rely on customers telling us. Once we know of a power cut, we urgently investigate where the problem originates. Initially, we’ll try to remedy it from our control centre, which is the quickest way to get your power back on. If we can’t, our engineers will travel to the local substation site to investigate and restore power as quickly and safely as they can.
Keeping you informed
Our engineers will feed regular updates to our contact centre on how the work is progressing. Through our website, text messages, telephone messages and calling customers back with updates, we’ll do our best to keep you informed.
If you have contacted us about a power cut, when the problem is fixed and the power comes back on, we’ll call you the next day to ensure that everything is working as it should be and that you don’t have any problems.
Customers often ask us why their power goes off, but their neighbours’ power stays on
We supply power to your home or business at low voltage, either 230 or 400 volts. Power does not travel very far at these voltages, so we bring the power to your area at much higher voltage, usually 11,000 volts. We reduce the voltage in local substations and deliver the power to you through underground cables, overhead lines, or a mixture of both.
How your property is connected to our network
We usually use four wires for low voltage distribution. Three are live, called phases, and one is the neutral. Domestic customers get their electricity from one of the three live phases and the neutral. We aim to connect an equal number of houses to each phase, although this might be randomly applied in a street.
When a fuse protecting one of the three phases blows only a third of the customers lose power. If two fuses blow then two thirds of the connected customers go off. You can see now how some customers can be without power while their immediate neighbours are not affected.
Keeping the power on
In urban areas, substations are relatively close together and often interconnect with each other. We can use link boxes in the footpath to alter these connections and keep your power on from a different substation while we work on our equipment. If there is a fault we may be able to get your power back this way too.We can sometimes do this with the overhead lines in rural areas too. However, there is often less interconnection as the houses and substations tend to be further apart.
Underground cables are normally reliable if they are not disturbed. Common causes of cable faults included vibration, subsidence and other companies digging nearby. Any damage to the cable allows water in the ground to get in and cause a breakdown. It may be months before the problem gets bad enough to cause a power cut.
Faults on low voltage underground cables can often be intermittent and very hard to find. If we can replace the fuses successfully it is usually because the heat from the fault has resealed the cable. We can only use our fault locating equipment once the fault has become permanent.
Overhead lines are more likely to be affected by lightning, trees and birds or vermin causing short circuits.