Loss of power and water
Failures in power and water supplies are rare, and are often linked to severe weather events. These simple steps will help you to stay safe and as comfortable as possible throughout any disruption.
- Make sure your home is well insulated. It could stay warm for 12 hours or more in a power cut.
- Keep at least one standard landline phone - cordless phones won't work in a power cut.
- Don't open fridges any longer than necessary. They'll normally stay cold for many hours.
- Register with your utility provider if you think you're vulnerable.
If you suffer a power cut
- Check if your neighbours have lost services too. If others are affected it makes a difference to what you should do.
- If it's a general power cut, contact your supplier to report the fault and ask for information.
- If your neighbours still have electricity and only you have lost power then:
- If you have a pre-pay meter, check you still have credit.
- Check your trip switch (a circuit breaker fuse system - it will be near your electricity meter). If the trip switch is still on, call your supplier's emergency line for your area.
- If the trip switch is off, switch it back on.
- If it switches back off, one appliance may be faulty. Unplug them all and reset the trip.
- If only part of your supply has failed and the trip won't reset, there may be a fault with your wiring, so contact a registered electrician.
- If you lose power for a prolonged period, take precautions to stay safe:
- Be wary using candles, naked flames and portable heating. Never leave lit candles in unoccupied rooms or with unsupervised children or animals.
Contact UK Power Networks for free on:
- 0800 31 63 105 from a landline
- 0333 32 32 105 from a mobile
Priority Services Register
Do you need extra support during a power cut or do you know someone else that would need extra support? If so, sign up to UK Power Network's free register by calling 0800 169 9970.
Who can apply:
- Customers who are dependent on medical equipment
- Customers who are chronically ill
- Customers with a disability
- Customers who are visually impaired or blind
- Customers who are hearing impaired or deaf
- Elderly customers
- A nursing or residential home
- Customers with young babies in the household
- Any other case you would like UK Power Networks to consider
- Always have a source of alternative heating available.
If your gas fails
If you smell gas inside or outside your home:
- Call the free 24-hour national gas emergency line 0800 111 999
You'll be asked a series of questions to identify the right safety advice for you, such as:
- Don't turn electrical switches on or off.
- Open doors and windows.
- Avoid using naked flames.
An engineer will be sent to make your property safe. Southern Gas Networks aims to attend all uncontrolled escapes within one hour and all controlled escapes within two hours. If the gas is lost for a long period, Southern Gas Networks will send you details about the incident (e.g. update on the situation, when they can safely restore supplies, alternative heating and cooking provisions etc). In these circumstances:
- Conserve existing heat in your home by using just one or two adjacent rooms. Isolate them by closing doors and/or hanging blankets over doorways. The kitchen and an adjoining room are usually good choices.
- If you're told you could be without power for several days, consider moving in with an emergency friend.
Water supply failure
When safe drinking water is unavailable, it's more than an inconvenience – it's a health hazard. You can make things easier by looking ahead.
- Make sure you have an emergency water supply. Everyone's needs differ, but the Food Standards Agency advises that the average adult should take in 1.5 to 2 litres of water in a typical day (6-8 250ml glasses).
- If you can't get out to collect water make sure you have an emergency friend who can do it for you.
If your water supply fails
- If your whole area has lost its water, your supplier has to provide alternative sources. This could be bottled water, stand-pipes or tankers. Ring your supplier's emergency line for information.