Power cut help & advice
Power cut? Contact your local network operator online or call 105, the free power cut emergency number.
In the event of a planned power cut to your home, your energy provider will usually give you several days’ notice. You can check for planned power cuts on your provider’s website using the link above. Sometimes severe weather or damage to the network can disrupt power supplies. Either way, it is always a good idea to be prepared, particularly if there is someone with additional needs at home.
Preparing for planned or unexpected power cuts.
Below we have provided some guidance about:
- How to prepare for a planned or unplanned power cut
- What to do if there is a planned or unexpected power cut to your home
- What do after a power cut
- Other frequently asked questions
Stay up to date with the National Grid
The National Grid is updating the country on the situation with blackouts and power cuts this winter. You could follow the National Grid on its social media pages or its website. You could also get a battery-powered radio, as you may be able to receive updates on the power cut this way.
Frequently asked questions
- Keep a torch handy – it is much safer than using candles, which can be a fire hazard
- Keep a blanket and warm clothing handy
- Fill a vacuum flask or/and hot water bottle in advance of a planned power cut
- Stock your cupboard with food and drink that doesn't require energy to prepare it
- Keep your mobile phone and laptop fully charged
- Register for your energy provider's priority register if there is someone in your property with additional needs (see next FAQ)
- Talk to your medical provider about a power outage plan for any powered medical equipment and refrigerated medicines
- Keep your vehicle's fuel tank at least half full for emergency travel, as fuel pumps may not work if there is a power cut in your local area
- Make sure that you know how to use the manual option on any electric-powered doors and gates
- Save 105 to your phone – you can use this number to report unexpected power cuts
- Know the location of your fuse box, gas meter, or mains water supply tap and how they operate
It is a good idea also to prepare a box of emergency items, such as:
- First aid kit and any prescription medication
- Spare charged phone
- Spare torches and batteries
- Portable charger or power bank
- List of emergency contacts in case your phone runs out of charge
- Important documents
- Flask and hot water bottle
- Battery-powered or wind-up radio (useful for keeping up with relevant local news)
In the unlikely event of a planned power cut to your home, your energy provider will usually give you several days’ notice. You can check for planned power cuts on your provider’s website.
You can also visit powercut105.com and inputting your postcode, you can check 24 hours before a planned power cut in your area.
If you have additional needs because of your medical or personal circumstances, contact your local network operator and ask about the free Priority Services Register.
If you live in an independent living or supported housing scheme, make your scheme coordinator aware of your needs.
Priority Services Register
The Priority Services Register is a free service to help people who have additional needs. It’s available to customers in England, Scotland and Wales. You can sign up by contacting your local network operator and energy supplier. Each keeps their own register.
Help you can get through the Priority Services Register
The type of help available will vary, depending on your circumstances and the support from your local network operator. All network operators can offer:
- Advance notice of planned power cuts. If you rely on your energy supply for medical reasons your network operator can tell you about planned power cuts. For example, when there are planned engineering works. Being on a Priority Services Register won’t mean your electricity supply will be restored more quickly or guarantee a power supply if there is a power cut.
- Priority support in an emergency. Network operators can provide heating and cooking facilities or accommodation and direct contact and updates, such as by phone.
- An identification and password scheme. This could include arranging a password or pictures only you and your local network operator will know. The network operator will use these forms of identification so can feel confident they are who they say they are if they need to visit or contact you.
Being registered for priority services does not guarantee a continuous supply of energy. As supply interruptions can happen all year round, it’s important you are prepared and know what to do if they happen.
Who is eligible?
You are eligible to register if you:
- have reached state pension age
- are disabled or have a long-term medical condition
- are recovering from an injury
- have a hearing or sight condition
- have a mental health condition
- are pregnant or have young children
- have extra communication needs.
You may also be eligible for other reasons, for example if you need short-term support after being in hospital.
It’s best to contact your network operator to check. And once you have registered, it’s important to keep your supplier or network operator updated if your circumstances change.
- Switch off appliances - turn off items such as irons, ovens, electric fires and fryers, as they could pose a hazard if the power comes back on when you are not there or they can be damaged by power surges
- Leave a light on so you know when the power comes back on
- Wear warm layers such as hats, gloves and blankets
- Close doors and curtains to keep the warmth in the room
- Do not use a gas stove, BBQ, candles or oven to heat your home
- Keep fridge and freezer doors closed and place a blanket over the appliance to keep its contents cooler longer
- If your mobile phone is running low on battery:
- Use the extra power saving mode if you have it
- Cut apps running in the background
- Turn down screen brightness
- Top up your battery in your car, if you have a car charger
- Check and see if your neighbours are safe, especially elderly or vulnerable ones
- If the power cut is unplanned or unexpected, contact your local network operator online or call 105, the free power cut emergency number. You can find out who your provider is here.
Cordless phones probably won't work during a power cut. They take their power from the mains, and most don't have battery backup. Traditional corded phones will work – you might want to keep one handy, so you can plug it in and make phone calls if you have a power outage. In most cases, mobile phones will work, so it is a good idea to keep them charged.
Know Your Medical Needs - Talk to your medical provider about a power outage plan for medical devices powered by electricity and refrigerated medicines.
Find out how long medication can be stored at higher temperatures and get specific guidance for any medications that are critical for life.
If you keep your fridge and freezer doors closed, chilled and frozen food will last longer. UK Power Networks says food should keep for between four to six hours in the fridge and 15 to 24 hours in the freezer if you can avoid opening it.
Covering your freezer with blankets while your electricity is off will give extra insulation and could keep your food fresh for longer.
If food defrosts in a freezer, bin it. Eating items that have thawed and then been refrozen can be dangerous.
Throw out perishable food in your refrigerator (meat, fish, cut fruits and vegetables, eggs, milk, and leftovers) after four hours without power or a cold source like dry ice.
The personal alarms and sensors issued by Progress Lifeline are installed with a battery which will last between 5-7 years. If the battery becomes low, a warning is issued and arrangements will then be made to provide a new alarm. The alarms and their batteries will be unaffected by any power cut.
In a power cut, do not use a stair lift or a passenger lift. If you need help, call a friend, neighbour or family member. If you are struggling, you can contact us in the usual way.
Think about when the power cut is planned and avoid using the lift near this time.
If you are in a passenger lift when a power cut happens, the lift is likely to stop and you will become trapped until the power returns or you are manually released. Please note, this could take several hours. Press the emergency button and talk to the operator who will respond and organise help. Try to remain calm and not panic. The emergency lighting will work so that you can see.
If you are using a stair lift when a power cut happens, it is likely to complete its journey, as most stair-lifts have a battery back-up, however it may not work after this, until the power is restored. Stair lifts should not be used in an emergency situation. In the event that the stair-lift fails mid-journey, keep clam and try not to panic. Seek assistance if you can or take extra care to release yourself from the chair if you are able.
According to Electricity North West, pets that require heat, such as fish or reptiles, should manage a couple of hours without power. If the power cut lasts longer than that, you may need to unplug your filters and remove them from the tank to stop toxins from entering the water.
If you have fish, you could also purchase a portable dissolved oxygen meter and test the oxygen levels in the water. If oxygen is needed, take a small cup of the tank water and pour it back in or make a figure of eight in the water.
When power is restored, please check that the power to your devices has returned, especially those that were in use when the power was cut. Please check that electrical appliances that are not in use are switched off/unplugged, especially any air fryers and/or charging devices.
Fire alarms should be unaffected as fire alarm panels are fitted with batteries which can run without mains power for at least 24 hours, subject to there being an activation on site. All batteries would re-charge when fire alarm power is restored.
Other electrical devices and installations in any communal areas should also automatically reset or recharge following a power cut, however if you notice a problem, you will need to report a repair.
We have plans in place to check any communal devices or installations that are known to need a manual reset.
Domestic boilers should automatically reset once the power returns, but if not, you will need to report a repair.
We have plans in place to check any communal boilers that are known to need a manual reset.
All smoke detectors will continue to work during and after a power cut. Brand new smoke detectors will last up to six months without power. All hard wired smoke alarms are fitted with a battery back-up. Batteries in smoke detectors are changed during routine servicing appointments, as required, however in the event of a battery becoming low, a warning bleep will sound. If you hear the warning sound, you will need to report a repair.
Intruder alarm systems have battery back-ups which will last approximately 12 hours. Batteries in intruder alarm systems are changed during routine servicing appointments, as required, however in the event of a battery becoming low, a warning bleep will sound.
If you hear the warning sound, you will need to report a repair.
Depending on the cause, power cuts may affect your home or street. On rare occasions, a much larger area may be affected. It is good idea to only travel is you really need to, especially by car, as traffic lights will be not be working. A power cut may also affect fuel stations. Shops and supermarkets may also need to close. If you are using public transport, check before you travel.
- Will there be any emergency lighting or heating in the communal areas of independent living or supported housing schemes?
All emergency lighting is designed to operate for a minimum of three hours in the event of a power failure, and will recharge once the system is re-energised.
It is likely that communal heating will not work during a power cut, however this should return once the power has been restored.
We have plans in place to check any heating systems that are known to need a manual reset.
If there are electrical devices which control access to your scheme building, including a communal entry system operated with a fob, these will have a battery back-up and should cover a blackout period of up to 4hrs. Intercoms however are not likely to work during a power cut, unless they are linked to a warden-call system.
Any powered electrical gates to schemes, etc. are unlikely to work as usual, but will be able to be operated manually in the event of an emergency. If you think you will need to operate the gate manually during any power cut, please contact your scheme coordinator who will provide you with the necessary information and/or instruction.
If you notice a problem with any devices or installations after a power cut, you will need to report a repair.
We have plans in place to check any communal devices or installations that are known to need a manual reset.
In the event of a power-cut, we will re-schedule appointments for any planned works, repairs and/or inspections. Emergency repairs will continue, as long as it is safe to do so.