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Power Cuts

Power Cuts

Mobile iconPower cuts &
emergencies

London

0800 028 0247

South East of England

0800 783 8866

East of England

0800 783 8838

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Text updates during a power cut

If your power’s off, we can keep you updated with text messages.

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With more than 170,000km of electricity cables to maintain, power cuts will sometimes happen. We promise to restore power as soon as we can.  

Check our LIVE map to see if we're aware of your power cut and when we estimate your power will be back on here.

 

To report a power cut or dangerous situation, another power issue or roadwork problem, please complete our online form.

It isn’t always possible to predict, however, here are some precautions you can take if you do have a power cut: 

  • If electricity is crucial for any medical equipment you have, please contact us now so we can put you on our Priority Register for assistance during any power cuts. 
  • Make sure you have multiple torches along with extra batteries 
  • Keep a plug-in telephone that does not require electricity – remember that with cordless phones you may not be able to make phone calls once the batteries are dead
  • Keep important documents safe and handy
Join the Register now and download the application form [pdf]
To help you to be prepared in case of a power cut to your property, we have included some helpful suggestions below:

• 
Remember never to put yourself in danger and to alert the emergency services if a dangerous situation arises.
• Where possible, consider making alternate arrangements to stay with family or friends if you are impacted by the power cut. We appreciate this will not be possible for many of our customers.    
•  Have a torch, with spare batteries, to hand. If you're using candles then please be careful. An open flame should always be used responsibly. See the advice that is offered on using a candle indoors by clicking here.
• It is handy to have access to hot water during a power cut; boil water and store it in flasks in advance of the power cut. It would be sensible to store as much hot water as possible.
• You should limit the use of your laptop or your smart phone in the lead up to the storm to preserve the life of the battery
• In the event that you need to phone us, please keep our telephone numbers handy (see numbers on the left hand side of this screen).
• Visit our website beforehand to watch some useful videos offering you advice during a power cut.
• Keep an old-fashioned corded phone which you can plug in, as cordless phones may not work in the event of a power cut.
• Keep fridges and freezers closed, with a blanket over as they will stay cold for many hours.
• Look out for elderly neighbours and ensure they are prepared for a possible power cut.
 
Download our handy guides to find out everything you need to know about power cuts.
 
 
Advice for vulnerable people during a power cut
If you or a relative are reliant on necessary medical or other electrical equipment, please read this advice on what to do during a power cut.
  • Stair Lifts - If your stair lift is mains operated, it will stop where it is during a power cut. Check now to see if there is a manual release handle that can be used to return the lift safely to ground level if it stops halfway between floors. Some stair lifts have battery back up power. This automatically takes over and keeps the lift working if there's a power cut. If your lift doesn't have this, it may be possible to have it fitted. Contact your lift manufacturer/supplier for more information. 
  • Medical equipment - If you have a medical condition – or rely on medical equipment which would be severely affected by a power cut – please discuss your concerns and needs with your carer, district nurse, doctor or social worker etc, so that you can cope with a power cut. They may be able to give you a personal emergency plan, so you know what to do. This should always include calling our power cut emergency line (listed on the left of this screen) to let us know that you are without power.
  • Telephones - Many modern home phones, particularly cordless ones, may not work during a power cut. Try to keep an ordinary telephone that plugs into a landline socket on each floor of your home, so you'll still be able to call someone for help. Remember to keep a mobile phone fully charged.
  • NHS Direct Helpline -If you need medical advice, call the NHS Direct Helpline on 0845 4647.
Download mobility aids help sheet [pdf]

Priority services during a power cut
We understand that some people may need extra support during a power cut. If you do, we recommend that you add your details to our Priority Services Register.
Find out more about our Priority Services Register and apply.

If your power’s off, we can keep you updated with text messages. These will let you know how our repair works are going, and give you an estimated time that your power will be switched back on. 

To register for this service text ‘Power’ followed by your postcode to 80876. For example: Power IP3 6QX

Our text update service runs through the day and night. It’s a 24-hour service, so we'll keep sending you messages until we’ve fixed the fault.

When we fix a fault, power comes back on in stages. Some homes may be up and running before others, but we’ll keep sending text updates until everyone has their power back on.

If you want to stop receiving messages, just text ‘CANCEL’ to 80876. If you’d like to receive texts again, all you need to do is re-register.

You’ll need to register for this service each time you have a power cut.

Will I get charged for this service?

We will not charge you for registering for this service. However, standard text message fees apply and may vary according to your mobile network provider. You will not be charged to receive messages. However, if you are using this service outside of the UK you may be charged to receive messages.

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. 

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.

We understand that some people may need extra support during a power cut. If we know where you are, we can help.

We recommend that you add your details to our Priority Services Register. Although, this doesn’t necessarily mean we can get your power back on more quickly, it does mean we can offer you additional help and support.

Find out more about the Priority Services Register and apply.

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.