70% of people in Yorkshire and Humberside and 51% in the North East think the reliability of the gas and electricity networks means they don’t have to prepare for winter as much as they used to.
The figures have been released to coincide with Be Winter Ready Day, a new initiative run by the Energy Networks Association, Northern Powergrid and the country’s other electricity and gas networks, which aims to help the public be better-prepared if they have a power cut or gas emergency this winter.
Some 55% of North East residents and 48% of Yorkshire and Humberside residents don’t keep a torch in their house in case of a power cut. Also 70% of people in the North East and 80% in Yorkshire and Humberside don’t take steps to get their boiler serviced in advance of winter.
Furthermore, 75% of people in the North East and 65% of people in Yorkshire and Humberside don’t know who their local gas or electricity network operators are, with only 21% (North East) and 15% (Yorkshire and Humberside) saying they prepare themselves for winter by finding out who to contact if their gas or electricity goes off.
The energy networks are calling on people across the region to follow these three steps to Be Winter Ready:
- Know your free emergency numbers - in a power cut dial 105 or, for a gas emergency, dial 0800 111999.
- Prepare your home - keep a torch handy and get your appliances serviced by a Gas Safe registered engineer to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Vulnerable households can get extra support by signing up to the Priority Services Register. Contact your gas or electricity network to find out more. Visit www.energynetworks.org to find out who your network operator is.
- Keep your eyes open - keep an eye on the weather forecast and, if you have a power cut or a gas emergency, check on your neighbours.
On the rare occasion power is interrupted or a gas emergency happens, the energy network companies have engineers working around the clock to restore supplies safely and as quickly as possible, keeping customers regularly updated on the progress. It has never been easier to contact your gas or electricity network companies any time of the day or night for information and advice.
Siobhan Barton, Head of Stakeholder Relations at Northern Powergrid, the company responsible for the network that delivers electricity to 3.9 million homes and businesses across the North East, Yorkshire, Humberside and northern Lincolnshire, said: “Many customers don’t realise that, regardless of who they choose to buy their energy from, it’s Northern Powergrid, as their local electricity network operator, they need to call if their lights go out.
“We invest around £1 million every day in managing and improving our network but severe winter weather can sometimes cause damage and disruption. We want our customers to know that we’re here for them 24/7 - whatever the weather. If they take action now by bookmarking our online power cut map, following our social media pages and adding the 105 number to their mobile phone they can ensure they are prepared and will have the information they need at their fingertips if they ever need to contact us in the future.
“We’re also encouraging anyone with a disability, medical condition or very young families, who may need extra help in a power cut to sign up to our free Priority Services Register.”
David Smith, Chief Executive of Energy Networks Association, said: “In recent years the chances of unplanned problems with electricity and gas supply have reduced dramatically. Since 1990, network companies have invested £80bn in improving the reliability of local energy networks in the UK. On average, electricity customers have a power cut just once every two years and gas customers will have their gas supply interrupted just once every 40 years.
“However, as the nights get colder and darker, the chances of severe weather increase. Storms, floods and other extreme conditions can sometimes cause damage to the electricity network and disrupt the energy supply. That’s why we are calling on people in the North East, Yorkshire and Humberside to Be Winter Ready and make sure they are prepared in case they have a power cut or gas emergency.”
For more information about the campaign, visit www.energynetworks.org and search ‘Be Winter Ready’. Customers interested in joining Northern Powergrid’s free Priority Services Register can sign up online at northernpowergrid.com/care or call the electricity distributor’s Powergrid Care team on 0800 169 2996.
- Energy Networks Association (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.
- In the GB, there are four Gas Distribution Network (GDN) operators and six electricity Distribution Network Operators (DNO) that are responsible for the gas and electricity networks that deliver energy from the national transmission networks into people’s homes and businesses 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Details of network operators are available at www.energynetworks.org
- The survey was compiled by Censuswide on behalf of ENA, with 2,000 adults, between 25th and 27th October 2017. 155 respondents were from the Yorkshire and the Humber region and 80 from the North East.
- Be Winter Ready is a campaign run by Energy Networks Association and the GB gas and electricity distribution companies: Cadent; SGN; Northern Gas Networks, Wales & West Utilities; Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks; SP Energy Networks; UK Power Networks; Western Power Distribution; Northern Powergrid and Electricity North West.
- 105 is the free number people in England, Scotland and Wales can call to report or get information about power cuts in their area or report damage to electricity power lines and substations. Funded by electricity distributors, including Northern Powergrid, it routes people to their local network operator. The service was launched in September 2016.
- Power cut advice and tips include:
- bookmark Northern Powergrid’s online power cut map and reporting service on your mobile devices – www.northernpowergrid.com/power-cuts
- have a charged mobile phone with important numbers, including 105 - the free national power cut phone line, easily accessible.
- turn off electrical appliances at the socket (this is particularly important for heating or cooking appliances as your power could be restored at any time and potentially cause a safety hazard)
- keep one light switched on so you know when power is restored
- keep a battery or wind-up torch handy – they’re much safer than candles
- check on your elderly or sick neighbours and relatives
- ensure you have warm clothing and blankets handy and some food and drink in your home that does not require electricity to heat or prepare it
- only call 999 in an emergency.