Power Cuts

a match indicating hot tips for a power cut

Are you prepared for winter power cuts?

More and more pressure is being put on the UK’s electricity network from electric vehicles, trains and the increasing use of electricity in homes including heating and tech. Even green heating initiatives like air source heat pumps need electricity to work.

The problem is that we don’t generate enough power at certain times. We have to fall back on coal and other sources – these often need time to start-up.

Also, the UK is a global leader in wind generation but what happens if the wind doesnt blow?

The worst case, is a winter high pressure weather system. Then the temperature drops and the wind stops while the heating and the kettles go on!

Result – power cuts and ‘load shedding’ which diverts the existing power to essential things like hospitals.

Most power cuts are relatively short term issues and are resolved in 24 hrs or so. But…

Longer cuts can happen when there is too much wind! The power transmission lines go down… like last year. It can take days or sometimes weeks (in remote areas) to restore power as workers have to rebuild the lines.

So, Be Prepared

Like Boy Scouts, the military are used to having a ‘go bag’ to contain essential items for any duty – like keeping warm!

Here are some winter go-bag items and tips.

  1. Keep a torch handy and make sure you have some spare batteries. It is best not to use candles as they are a fire risk!
  2. Your phones and IT will rapidly run out of power and your broadband will not work!
  3. Keep a charged power bank for your mobiles for emergency help. At least keep your mobile phone and laptop fully charged and minimise their use if th elights go out.
  4. Wireless phones will stop working. The only phone that will work are the old analogue plug in type that use the phone line poewer to make calls. – its worth having one for emergencies when your mobile is flat.
  5. Have a battery-powered, or wind-up radio tuned into a local radio station for updates and company.
  6. Clothes – hand warmers, thermals socks and gloves, blankets, and a hot water bottle.
  7. Stock your cupboard with some food and drink that doesn’t require electricity to prepare it.
  8. Fill a vacuum flask for a hot drink or soup.

If you’re on gas for cooking and heating, remember the heating will go off without power! The same applies for oil or air pump heating as the heating circulation pumps will stop.

Thinking of others

Do you have vulnerable people in your area and do they need help? Don’t forget them!

Do you have friends or family members you could visit or temporarily stay with until your power is restored? or could they stay with you?

Remember to:

Switch off electrical appliances that shouldn’t be left unattended like cookers, ready for when the power comes back on.

Leave a light on so you know when the power outage has been resolved.

Advice and further information on where power cuts or outages may happen are also available on the national powercut105.com website.