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HOW THE UK’S ENERGY NETWORKS ARE PREPARING FOR COVID-19

ENA logoEnergy Networks Association (ENA), which represents UK electricity and gas network companies, including Northern Powergrid, is assuring the public that, as providers of essential services and critical infrastructure, there are well-practiced contingency plans in place to ensure network operators continue to deliver services to the communities they serve across the UK.

Keeping gas and electricity flowing
There are well-tested contingency plans in place to ensure network companies continue to deliver services to the communities they serve across the UK. This includes industry-wide mutual aid arrangements for people and the equipment needed to keep gas and electricity flowing.

Network companies have implemented robust measures to protect control rooms, where the networks are run from, along with their contact centres. To provide additional resilience, engineers have been trained across multiple disciplines and backup centres exist should operations need to be moved if, for example, deep cleaning is required.

National Grid ESO has analysed the anticipated effects on electricity supply and demand of long-term mass self-isolation of the UK’s workforce. It is expected that demand across the country would reduce. This is largely owing to a likely reduction in industrial and commercial demand, which would likely be greater than the increase in domestic demand as people stay at home.

Looking after vulnerable customers
The network companies take their responsibilities to all their customers very seriously, but particularly those who may live in more vulnerable circumstances and have over seven million people on their Priority Services Registers. Advice remains to all customers to call 105 in a power cut and call 0800 111 999 immediately if you smell gas.

Keeping customers and staff safe
ENA and its members are working closely with the government and public health bodies to make sure their staff work safely and in line with expert advice as they continue to support the public. Network operators have issued updated health and safety guidance to their teams and have taken steps to ensure networks remain resilient if employee absentee levels were to significantly increase.

David Smith, Chief Executive of Energy Networks Association, said: “The UK’s electricity and gas network is one of the most reliable in the world and network operators are working with the authorities to ensure that their contingency plans are reviewed and delivered in accordance with the latest expert advice. We are following this advice closely and reassuring customers that energy networks are continuing to operate as normal for the public.

"Advice remains to call 105 if you have a power cut and call 0800 111 999 immediately if you smell gas. We are asking customers who are either self-isolating or have a confirmed case of the coronavirus and need an engineer to attend their property, to ensure they tell their energy network operator before any visit so that appropriate precautionary arrangements can be put in place.”