Power companies have worked together to launch a new national power cut phone line – 105 – to help people contact their local electricity network company.
Northern Powergrid, which operates the electricity network across the North East, Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire, has joined forces with other regional networks to provide a single national number for power cut queries.
Callers dialling 105, which is free to use, will be put straight through to their local electricity network operator, helping avoid potential confusion or people contacting the wrong organisation.
The number, which is available to electricity customers in England, Scotland and Wales, will enable people to report or get information about power cuts as well as report damage to electricity power lines and substations that could put themselves, or someone else, in danger. 105 is funded and delivered by the electricity network operators, and is a first for the UK’s energy industry.
The launch comes as figures reveal that 72% of people don’t know who to contact if they have a power cut, with a further 43% indicating that they would incorrectly call the electricity supplier they pay their bill to, when in fact they should contact their local electricity network operator.
Electricity network operators are the companies that manage and maintain the power lines and substations that bring electricity into homes and businesses*. The research, commissioned by the operators’ trade body Energy Networks Association (ENA) found that 21% of people would contact their electricity network operator in a power cut, yet, of these, only 11% could correctly name their local operator.
Neil Applebee, responsible for customer service at Northern Powergrid, said: “Significant network investment means power cuts are not a regular or widespread occurrence for people, however, latest industry research makes it clear that there’s still a need to provide a simple, memorable number for customers to call should they experience one.
“This is particularly important when there’s bad weather, as severe storms can cause damage to power networks and disrupt the electricity supply into people’s homes. This new, free number will make life easier for electricity customers linking them directly to our contact centre. It also complements our successful online power cut map and 24 hour social media services which help keep customers informed if they have a power cut.”
David Smith, Chief Executive of ENA, said: “Electricity network operators across England, Scotland and Wales and ENA have worked in partnership to launch 105. We hope people across the North East, Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire will welcome it as an important step forward in helping electricity customers know exactly what to do and who to contact if they have a power cut.”
People can also call 105 from most landlines and mobile phones, no matter who they choose to buy electricity from, if they spot damage to electricity power lines and substations. It is a free service, available to people in England, Scotland and Wales.
More information about 105 and electricity network operators can be found at www.powercut105.com. The new website also provides direct links and details of how to contact network operators online and via social media to get information and updates about a power cut.
Notes to editor:
- Northern Powergrid is the electricity distribution business for North East England, Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire. The company delivers power safely and reliably to the 3.9 million homes and businesses.
- Northern Powergrid’s network consists of more than 61,000 substations, 29,000 kilometres of overhead line and 62,000 kilometres of underground cable, covering an area of more than 25,000 square kilometres.
- ENA is the voice of the networks representing the ‘wires and pipes’ transmission and distribution network operators for gas and electricity in the UK and Ireland.
- The survey was compiled by Censuswide on behalf of ENA with a sample of 2,700 UK adults.
- In England, Scotland and Wales, there are six Distribution Network Operators (DNOs) that operate in different geographical regions and multiple Independent Distribution Network Operators (IDNOs) that operate across regions. DNOs and IDNOs are each responsible for ensuring that homes and businesses have electricity 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
- The 105 service is enabled by Vodafone on behalf of network operators. It will use customers’ location when calling and the location of their home to identify and route the call to the correct network operator.
- *They include Electricity North West, Northern Powergrid, Scottish and Southern Energy, SP Energy Networks, UK Power Networks, Western Power Distribution, as well as the independent network operator GTC.