With temperatures dropping, more cold weather ahead and Britain’s register for vulnerable energy customers exceeding 7 million people in need for the first time, Energy Networks Association (ENA) and its members, which includes Northern Powergrid, are urging everyone to be winter ready.
With colder, darker nights, the chance of severe weather becomes more likely. Storms, floods and other extreme conditions can cause damage to energy infrastructure and disrupt supplies.
That’s why the UK’s gas and electricity network companies have come together to launch the Be Winter Ready campaign. The campaign aims to help the public better-prepare for power cuts and gas emergencies.
To Be Winter Ready, Energy Networks Association and its members, which include Northern Powergrid, are urging everyone to:
- Know their free emergency numbers – in a power cut dial 105 or, for a gas emergency, dial 0800 111999.
- Prepare their home – keep a torch handy, install a carbon monoxide alarm, and get 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 operator to find out more. Visit www.energynetworks.org to find out who your network operator is.
- Keep their eyes open – keep an eye on the weather forecast and, if you have a power cut or a gas emergency, check on your neighbours.
In recent years the chances of unplanned problems with electricity and gas supply have dropped dramatically. Since 1990, network companies have invested more than £100bn in improving the reliability of local energy networks in the UK.
As a result, on average, electricity customers have a power cut less than once every two years and gas distribution customers will have their gas supply interrupted without advance notice just once every 140 years. However, if a power cut or gas incident happens it is vital that people are prepared, know what to do and who to contact.
David Smith, ENA's chief executive, said: “The networks constantly review the resilience of infrastructure and there are robust plans in place to deal with the damage caused by extreme weather. However, we want the public to know there are things they can do to ‘Be Winter Ready’ and ensure that those customers who do have a power cut or gas emergency know exactly who to call so that they can get reconnected quickly and be as fully prepared as possible.
“Over £100 billion has been invested by network companies since 1990 and we now have some of the safest and most reliable networks in the world. While the chance of severe weather remains, I would urge all those eligible to be prepared and sign up for additional support in case of emergency.”
Siobhan Barton, Head of Stakeholder Relations at Northern Powergrid, the company responsible for the network that powers everyday life for 8 million customers across 3.9 million homes and businesses in the North East, Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire, said: “Many customers don’t realise that, regardless of who you choose to buy your 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 a power cut. We want our customers to know that we’re here for them 24/7 and if they take action now by bookmarking our online power cut map, following us on social media, and adding 105 to their mobile phone they can ensure they have the information they need at their fingertips this winter should they ever need it.
"We also want any customers who could find a power cut more difficult due to their personal or medical circumstance, to know that we can offer tailored services, guidance and support through our free Priority Services Register. Its easy to join - so just call us or register online at northernpowergrid.com."
For more information on Northern Powergrid's Priority Services Register click here.