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Electricity Emergencies

Power cut or electrical fault?

Power Cut or Electrical Fault? 

Here’s what to do if you lose power or need to tell us about damaged power lines or underground cables. 

In case of power loss, you should contact your Distribution Network Operator (DNO) to get the quickest solution.  

Call 105 to be directed to your local electricity Distribution Network Operator.  

Or enter your postcode on to get the direct contact details of your DNO. 

This is a free service from most landlines and mobile phones in England, Scotland and Wales. 

Please determine if you are in fact experiencing a power cut, or if the incident is an isolated electrical fault within your property. 

CHECK – If your neighbours have power, check that your trip switches are on. Trips switches are designed to turn themselves off to interrupt the flow of electricity if a problem is detected with an electrical appliance. You can find your trip switches on your consumer unit or fuse box.  

If your neighbours are also experiencing a loss of power, it’s likely that you are experiencing a power cut.  

Operators work hard to maintain nationwide electrical systems; however, unforeseen circumstances can sometimes lead to power cuts, also referred to as power outages.  

Power cuts can happen for a variety of reasons: 

  • Natural causes – e.g. fallen trees, or weather conditions such as high winds, lightning, or flooding causing damage to equipment. 
  • Fires – which damage the equipment on the network or in substations  
  • Human error– accidental damage to cables while undertaking building or maintenance work nearby. 
  • Overloading – one of the most common causes of power cuts; if the demand for electricity exceeds the capacity of the power grid, this can cause an outage. 
  • Maintenance – planned maintenance of power lines or equipment may require the electricity supply to be temporarily shut off for a short period of time. If this is the case, you should be notified in advance. These works are usually carried out at night when demand is lower. 

There are precautions you can take to help prepare in case of a power cut, for example: 

  •  For crucial medical equipment requiring electricity, please contact your DNO and request to be added to their priority register. You should also consider investing in a battery backup device. 
  • Keep multiple torches along with extra batteries to hand.  
  • Keep some charge on your mobile phone so you can make calls in case of emergencies (if you have a portable power bank, keep this charged too). It is also a good idea to ensure some mobile data is available if your Wi-Fi is unavailable. 
  • Switch off appliances – turn off items such as irons, ovens, and anything electrical that is not designed to run unattended, to avoid the event of a power surge when the power comes back on. 
  • Leave one light on – this way you will know when the power comes back on, rather than routinely trying your switches and putting strain on them 

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