Power Cuts

Firstly, take some time to think about the impact that a short, medium or long-term power cut could have on your home or business. Next, take the risks you’ve identified and make a plan for how you would respond to minimise the impact.

Flood bag prepared.

What simple steps can you take to ensure you’re electrically prepared?
Some areas to consider might include:

  • Emergency kit - Prepare a ‘grab bag’ containing emergency contact details. Include 105 the free number to call to report a power cut, and useful items such as a spare phone/battery backup, wind up/battery operated torches and/or lamps.
  • Uninterruptible power supply devices (UPS) - Consider purchasing a UPS device, which will provide a few minutes of emergency back-up if you have a power cut. These devices can protect your computers and wireless networks, as well as larger devices such as servers and data centres.
  • Generators - Consider purchasing or renting a back-up generator. If you decide to do this, make sure the generator is connected properly by a qualified electrician and regularly tested.
  • Computers and tablets - Save your work and back up to an external drive regularly and enable auto-save on your software if it’s available. If your Wi-Fi is without power, you may be able to use the hotspot on your smart phone or purchase an internet dongle from your network provider to continue working.
  • Telephone systems - Many telephones use “line current” and will operate during a power cut. However, if your telephone has a mains plug, check to see if it has back-up batteries to ensure it works without power. For businesses, commercial telephone switchboards vary; some will shut down during a power cut, others will automatically divert calls to one or two lines. Check with your telephone system supplier.
  • History of flooding - Notify your electricity distribution network operator if you live or work in an area prone to flooding and your meter is below potential flood levels. Make sure appliances are placed in elevated locations if possible.
  • Security shutters - These might not work during a power cut if they’re mains operated. Check to see if your shutters are fitted with a manual over-ride system or come with a battery back-up. Ask your installer for more details.
  • Lifts - Lifts with electrically operated motors will stop during a power cut. There should be someone on site trained to manually operate this type of lift if the electricity goes off unexpectedly.
Black flashlight isolated on white background

What to do if there’s an unplanned power cut
If you have a power cut, check whether it’s affecting just your property or whether adjoining houses/businesses are affected too. If they still have power, then the problem could be with your own equipment.

If it’s safe to do so, check whether there are any lights visible on your electricity meter. If the lights are flashing this means that electricity is coming into your premises.

Check your fuse box. You can do this by turning off the mains power using the main trip switch and then all the smaller trip switches; then turn the mains power back on followed by the smaller switches one at a time. If one of the smaller switches refuses to stay in the upright position and continues to trip this usually means, there’s a problem somewhere in your building.

If there’s still no power, you can report or get updates about a power cut by visiting northernpowergrid.com on your smart phone or calling 105.
A community warden and a Northern Powergrid representative checking in on residence during a storm.

Floods and electricity
If your property has flooded, don’t touch any electrical appliances, cables or equipment standing in flood-water or any appliances that have been immersed in water. If water is about to enter your property, turn off your electricity supply via your isolator switch or fuse box, but only if it’s safe to do so.

Call Northern Powergrid if any of your equipment has been under water or if your electricity supply is off.

Northern Powergrid is the company responsible for the electricity distribution network that powers everyday life for millions of customers across homes and businesses in Yorkshire. The electricity network operator offers a range of useful resources:

  • 105 – the free number to call to report a power cut
  • Online power cut map providing real time updates about power cuts. Whether planned or unplanned, you’ll be able to locate your power cut, find out what’s happened and when your power is due back on. You can also report a power cut.
  • 24/7 customer support on Facebook and Twitter (@NorthPowergrid).
  • Guidance videos to help you check your property if there’s a power cut.
  • Northern Powergrid’s customer care team can provide a letter confirming the details of the power cut for you to pass on to your insurers in case of damage to your contents or property.
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