With strong wind and heavy rain forecast over the festive period, there is a possibility of blackouts in many parts of the UK.
This is normally caused by falling tree branches and other debris carried by the wind damaging overhead power cables.
Preparing for a possible blackout
- Keep the number of your local network operator handy (see below)
- Keep torches, a radio and spare batteries at hand
- Keep an old-fashioned corded phone which you can plug in, as cordless phones won’t work
- Keep important documents safe and handy
If electricity is crucial for any medical or mobility equipment you have, your power network operator can put you on a priority list for assistance during a power cut.
Who to contact in a blackout
If there is a power outage in your area, report it to your local power distribution company. Many employ extra staff in their call centres at periods of high risk.
Many will also have further advice on their websites.
- North Scotland (SSE Power Distribution) - 0800 300 999
- South Scotland (SP Energy Networks) - 0845 272 7999
- North East England (Northern Powergrid) - 0800 668 877
- North West (Electricity North West) - 0800 195 4141
- Yorkshire (Northern Powergrid) - 0800 375 675
- East Midlands (Western Power Distributon) - 0800 056 8090
- West Midlands (Western Power Distribution) - 0800 328 1111
- Eastern England (UK Power Networks) - 0800 783 8838
- South Wales (Western Power Distribution) - 0800 052 0400
- Southern England (SSE Power Distribution) - 08000 727 282
- London (UK Power Networks) - 0800 028 0247
- South East England (UK Power Networks) - 0800 783 8866
- South West England (Western Power Distribution) - 0800 365 900
- North Wales, Merseyside & Cheshire (SP Energy Networks) - 0845 272 2424
You should only call 999 if someone is in immediate danger or in need of urgent medical care, or if a crime is taking place or about to happen.
What to do in a blackout
- Listen to local radio for information
- Dress warmly in several layers of clothing, stay in one room or even get into bed
- Take great care if using candles, tea-lights and other naked flames
- Minimises opening of fridge and freezer doors. Food can survive for up to 15 hours in a freezer if the door is not opened.
- Switch off all non-essential electrical equipment
- Leave one light on to let you know when the power comes back on
- After the power cut be sure to check your circuit breaker
Elderly or ill neighbours may be at particular risk in a blackout so consider checking on them or taking them a flask of hot water or hot food.