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13/10/11: Electricity North West and WRVS to keep people cosy this winter

Vulnerable residents in the North West will benefit from targeted support campaign this winter, thanks to Electricity North West and the 750 North West-based volunteers from WRVS.

Electricity North West, which owns and operates the region’s electricity network, is partnering with WRVS to provide vulnerable customers with invaluable practical and personal support if they lose their power.  

The service is tailored to the individual customer’s needs – from a reassuring voice at the other end of the phone to house visits delivering a hot meal and drink. Electricity North West is also launching a new ‘Customer Emergency Pack’ which includes a wind-up torch, fleece gloves and a blanket to help people keep warm.

Customers eligible for the free service are those who may find it particularly difficult to be without electricity, such as older or disabled people, or those with a medical dependency on electricity. From today, they can sign up to Electricity North West’s Priority Services Register at www.enwl.co.uk/priority or by calling 0800 048 1820.

Mark Williamson, engineering services manager at Electricity North West, explains: “Many of us take our electricity supply for granted, but unfortunately power cuts do happen. Thankfully they are infrequent but they are sudden when the network is affected by external and environmental events such as metal theft or falling tree branches.

“We take pride in the service we provide to our customers, and the network currently operates at 99.99% reliability. We do occasionally have to remove power while our engineers carry out essential maintenance on the network too which helps prevent unplanned power cuts. And although we always give advance notice to customers when we do this, I’m sure that the partnership with WRVS will help support those who need it, on the rare occasion when they are without power.”

Sue Collins, North West Head of Service at WRVS, said: “We were very pleased to partner with Electricity North West to give that additional support to those who truly need it this winter.

“If a customer is without power for more than three hours, between 8am and 10pm, they will be offered our services. We will then contact these customers within half an hour to discuss their requirements and see if we can help in any way.”

WHAT TO DO IF THE POWER GOES OFF

Electricity North West has put together this six-step guide to help people if their electricity supply is temporarily interrupted.

  • Check the trip switch If your trip switch is in the off position, try to move it back to the on position. If this works, your power should come back on. If this does not work and the trip moves back to the off position, this would indicate that the fault may be with one of your appliances or house wiring circuits.

  • Contact us – If the trip switch has not operated, if your neighbours also have no electricity, or if you can find no other reason, there may be a problem with the electricity supply in your area. If so, please contact us on 0800 195 4141 to report the problem.

  • Have a back up – It’s always handy to have a torch or candle supply in the house in case the power goes out in the evening. A battery operated radio is also useful so you can listen to the local radio station as we will keep them informed of electricity supply problems, especially during times of severe weather.

  • Switch off – Remember to switch off all electrical appliances which are not designed to run unattended eg. cookers and electric fires. If they are in use when your supply is interrupted, then turn them off as they will come on again later when you may have forgotten about them.

  • Fridges and freezers – Try to leave the door closed if possible until the supply is restored. Chilled products should remain safe for a number of hours. Frozen food in the small freezer compartment at the top of the fridge should also remain safe for several hours and a full freezer will stay colder for longer than an empty one.

  • Chilly winters – Keeping warm is particularly important to the very young, very old or those who suffer from certain illnesses. To trap warm air, you should wear several layers of warm clothing rather than one.

For more information, go to www.enwl.co.uk/priority

For more information on the WRVS, visit www.wrvs.org.uk

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