What to do if there's a power cut in your area and how to deal with outages

POWER cuts can be a massive problem while electricians aren't easily available particularly when you're self isolating.

Caused by everything from bad weather to bad wiring, here's how to deal with a power cut and how to be sure it's not just your house that's up the creek.

How do you know if there's been a power cut?

Just because the lights have gone off or the sockets aren't working in your house doesn't mean there's been a power cut.

The first thing you need to do is work out if it's just your wiring or there's a bigger problem.

You can call 105 to report a power cut or get information about power cuts in your area.

But there are also a few tell-tale power cut signs that could help, other than the fact that it's dark and there's no wifi.

What are the signs that there has been a power cut?

  • Check if the street lights are on – if they're not it's probably because the power is down and it's not just your house
  • Check with a neighbour if they have electricity – if not then it could be the whole area
  • Check if everything has gone off and not just the lights or appliances – if it's just one of these it could be an issue with your trip switches
  • Check that your prepayment meter hasn't just run out of credit

What if it's not a power cut?

Find your fuse box and flip all the switches off, then back on again.

Failing that, call your dad and do as he says. Dads always know.

How do you report a power cut?

Once you've established it is, in fact, a power cut you need to get in touch with your network distributor.

You can find out who this is using the handy Energy Networks Association's postcode searcher.

Once you're in touch with your provider they should be able to give you more information about the power cut and provide you with an estimated time for when things will be up and running again.

You can also get news on the latest power cuts in your area on the National Grid website or on their Twitter.

What to do if there's a power cut?

Ok, you've established there's a power cut, you've successfully reported it and you know that you've got a few hours before the lights come back on. What now?

The first piece of advice is that it's important to stay calm in a power cut.

They often don't last very long so it should be too long before your home is back in action.

If you are without power for any length of time you may want to watch out for the following:

  • Keep an eye on frozen food – you may not be able to refreeze anything that defrosts.
  • Provided it is safe – switch off electric appliances at the plug. Sometimes electricity can run in surges and you don't want your things to be damaged.
  • Stay well away from any downed power lines, if they are still energised you could be seriously hurt.


How do you prepare for a power cut?

Before a power cut there are a few things you can do to make sure you are equipped to deal with the dark times.

  • Buy a torch – avoid candles as they can cause fires
  • Get an external battery pack so you don't need to rely on electricity to charge your phone
  • Make sure you know how to operate the manual release of your garage door – if you have one
  • Keep your car's petrol tank full as petrol stations rely on electricity to pump petrol
  • If you rely on anything that requires battery power like a medical device – make sure you talk to your doctor about a back up plan
  • Have some blankets and thick clothes ready to keep everybody warm if the heating goes down


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