What to do in a power cut
Get useful information to help prepare for a power cut and what to do if you're affected by a power outage in your area
Many people will be facing a challenging winter ahead due to the rising cost of living and energy bills. There have also been warnings of potential power cuts across the UK this winter due to adverse weather or possible supply issues.
Make sure you're prepared for sudden power cuts by following our advice.
British Red Cross support line
If you need help, our support line volunteers can provide (where possible) free and confidential emotional support and signposting to local services.
Call 0808 196 3651
(Open 10am to 5pm Monday to Friday and 10am to 8pm on Wednesday.)
How to prepare for a power cut
- Check online for weather warnings and updates as adverse weather may cause power cuts.
- Find out who your electricity network is. Your electricity network is the company that manages your electricity cables. This can be done by using the Energy Network Association’s postcode lookup tool.
- Unplug non-essential electrical appliances. If you have crucial medical equipment, please contact your electricity network as you may be added to the Priority Services Register (more information below).
- Prepare an emergency kit. An at home kit should include a torch, radio, essential medication, three days' supply of water, ready-to-eat food, a paper copy of emergency contact numbers, a portable phone charger, and any pet or baby supplies necessary. Use our emergency kit guide to make your own.
- Share this information with others in your community.
Stay safe during a power cut
If you're experiencing a power cut report the outage to your local power network, this can be done by using the Energy Network Association’s postcode lookup tool. You can also call them about damaged power or electricity lines that are down.
If you think there is a significant risk to the public, please call 999.
- Switch off all appliances that shouldn’t be left unattended, ready for when power is restored. You can leave a light on, so you know when the power is restored.
- It’s recommended you use torches during a power outage rather than burning candles or building small fires. For more information, read the fire safety in the winter guide from GOV.UK.
- To stay warm during a power cut, wrap up warm and close any windows or external doors. If you feel safe and are able to do so, consider checking on neighbours or family members who might be more vulnerable in this situation.
- If you are on the Priority Services Register, call the number you have been given.
- Keep fridges and freezers closed, they will stay cold for many hours.
- Call 105 to be connected to your local network company for further advice.
Priority Services Register
For those that require extra support during a power cut, you may be eligible to be added to your energy supplier or network operator’s Priority Service Register. Ofgem state that you are eligible if you:
- have reached your state pension age
- are disabled or have a long-term medical condition
- are recovering from an injury
- have a hearing or sight condition
- have a mental health condition
- are pregnant or have young children
- have extra communication needs (such as if you don’t speak or read English well)
- need to use medical equipment that requires a power supply
- have poor or no sense of smell
- would struggle to answer the door or get help in an emergency
You can also join the Priority Services register on a temporary basis if you have recently experienced a life-changing event, returned from hospital, or living independently for the first time.
For further information and to register for the Priorities Service Register, please contact your energy supplier or network operator. If you're unsure who your suppliers are, you can search to find your network operator and gas supplier.
Power cut checker
To check for a power cut in your area, first locate your energy supplier using the postcode tool.
Here you'll be able to check the status of the power cut including when it's likely to be resolved.
If you already know your electricity supplier, track the power outage on their website: