Dealing with power cuts
What to do if your power goes off
For more information about what to do if the power goes off, click the links below:
What to do when your power is back on
Remember to switch off all electrical appliances that may have been in use when supply was interrupted and are not designed to run unattended, for example:
- cookers and electric fires
- chip pans
- bar fires.
Leave at least one light switched on so you will know when your power is restored.
Please also remember that door bells and alarm systems may not work when your supply is interrupted and that street lamps may also be off.
- 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 remain safe for several hours.
Please note a full freezer will stay colder longer than an empty one so if your freezer is only part full, consider freezing tubs of water (empty ice cream tubs are ideal).
- Leave the door closed as freezers should remain sufficiently cold to protect food for a number of hours without electricity. The manufacturer's leaflet may give you specific times for your model.
- Cover the freezer with blankets while the supply is off to give extra insulation.
- Remove blankets as soon as power returns.
Please note that as Electricity North West does not guarantee a continuous supply of electricity and is not liable for any loss of freezer contents. Claims for these should be made to your household insurance.
To provide some light, ensure you have a torch close to hand and that the batteries are working.
If you feel you must use candles, paraffin or gas lamps then please take great care. We recommend you:
- place them on a firm non-combustible surface where they will not be knocked over.
- place them away from curtains, soft furnishings and from children and pets.
- don't leave them unattended.
- never leave children alone with them, especially overnight in bedrooms.
If you have an alternative form of heating be sure to use it safely.
- Don't move a paraffin heater when it's alight.
- Get it checked if it hasn't been used recently.
If you wish to hire or buy a generator please refer to your telephone directory for generator suppliers. Unfortunately we are unable to recommend particular suppliers. Please seek professional advice before connecting a portable generator.
Keeping warm is particularly important to the very young, older people or those who suffer from certain illnesses. To trap heat, we recommend:
- wearing several layers of warm clothing.
- wearing a hat to reduce heat loss.
- keep active to help to stimulate circulation.
If you are notified that your electricity is going to be disconnected, heat some water beforehand and fill a covered hot water bottle.
You may find it useful to keep some hot water in a vacuum flask to make coffee, tea or soup. Warm drinks may also be available from a neighbour.
Please make sure your neighbours and friends know how you are managing as they may be able to offer some help.
You can also contact us to register as a priortity customer by clicking here.
If you are a farmer or live in the country and may have specific needs, contact your local NFU office for advice.
If you have notification of a power outage, it may be advisable to avoid using a personal computer if work could be lost.
Where interruptions are beyond our control, information could be safeguarded by installing an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) available from suppliers of computer equipment stockists.
"I have tropical animals / fish, how can I keep the tank insulated during a power cut?"
Tip 1: The first thing to do during an outage is to unplug your filters. This prevents toxins such as hydrogen sulphide and ammonia building up in the filter. This can cause the filter to spew this toxic cocktail back into your tank, once the power has been restored, endangering your fish. Once power is restored, clean out all filters before using them.
Tip 2: Place a blanket over the tank, this will act as insulation and will also trick the animal into thinking it is night time so they will require less oxygen. If you have the ability to heat water (i.e on a gas stove) then you can fill empty plastic bottles with warm (not boiling) water and place them in the tank.
Tip 3: For fish that require oxygen, keep disturbing their water to create oxygen bubbles. This can be done by making a figure of 8 with your finger in the water or taking a small amount of their water out (i.e. a cup full) and then pouring the water back into the tank.
After supply is restored...
Please contact your suppllier if you suspect your timeswitch for Economy 7 or off-peak metering is wrong following an interruption of supply.
Timeswitches, on for example immersion heaters, will normally need resetting to the correct time and date, unless they incorporate a spring reserve or battery back-up.
Please check your Economy 7 timer to heat the water following an interruption to see if it is displaying the correct time and reset if necessary.
Some modules have an internal battery that keeps the clock going for a number of hours during a power cut.
If you have a gas / oil central heating system with a boiler and radiator which does not operate without electricity, reset timers as soon as supply is restored.
If you have an electric clock, alarm clock or video recorder, these may also need resetting following a power outage.