Winter weather preparation
We work tirelessly to undergo our annual preparations to ensure power supplies are fully maintained and provided to residents and businesses across the region during the cold winter months.
Every year we gear up for winter by assessing the network and focusing a multi-million pound investment programme on strengthening power supplies and services for our customers.
While the network operates at 99.99 percent reliability, and we have a wide range of advanced systems in place to keep power cuts to a minimum, they can and do still happen.
Whether because of metal theft, vandalism, or an act of nature such as severe weather or falling trees, the supply of electricity to homes and businesses can sometimes be interrupted unexpectedly.
We help protect the five million people we serve from the impact of power cuts caused by extreme weather with a successful combination of both proactive maintenance and efficient communication.
We do everything we can to restore power as quickly as possible if there is a problem and we ensure a thorough plan is in place which is rolled out across the entire North West.
We continually refurbish and maintain the overhead power network to help ensure its reliability throughout winter conditions. The programme includes replacing ageing poles and steelwork where necessary to make the overhead network more resilient to the effects of high winds, snow and icy conditions.
To minimise disruption for you, all non-essential maintenance work on the network is rescheduled outside of the Christmas and New Year holiday periods. Due to safety reasons and to avoid unplanned power cuts, engineers still carry out essential maintenance work.
With a full team of in-house arborists, we also continue our successful tree pruning programme throughout the year to prevent power cuts caused by branches falling and encroaching on the overhead power lines.
The company’s 4x4 fleet allows engineers to access remote rural areas from Cumbria to the Peak District. Bespoke modifications to some new vehicles also means that they are specifically tailored to the demanding tasks involved in maintaining the network. Modifications include increased space for kit, improved towing ability and integrated winches – which can become essential for use in severe ice and snow.
Engineers and contact centre staff regularly take part in vital emergency incident training exercises to ensure they are fully prepared to respond immediately and restore supplies as quickly as possible if customers do lose power due to bad weather.
In addition, to ensure all our customers are helped to keep warm this winter, Electricity North West, in partnership with the British Red Cross, also provides practical and personal support to vulnerable customers in case they do find themselves without power due to faults caused by particularly severe conditions.
The campaign 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. We also provide a vital ‘Customer Emergency Pack’ which includes a wind-up torch, fleece gloves and a blanket to help people keep warm.
Vulnerable customers, including some older or disabled people, or those with a medical dependency on electricity, can sign up to our Priority Services Register or by calling 0800 195 4141.
To find out more about how you can prepare for winter please visit the Met Office website, where you can discover advice and tips on how you and your family can be ready for a wide range of severe weather.