Are you prepared for gas or electricity disruption this winter?

Advice on how to be prepared for gas and electricity disruption throughout winter

Image telling you to call 105 if you have a power cutAs the nights get colder and darker, the chance of severe weather increases.

Storms, floods and other extreme conditions can cause damage to energy network infrastructure and disrupt energy supply.

Prepare yourselves for energy disruption this winter with the following three key steps:

Know your free emergency numbers – in a power cut call 105 or, for a gas emergency, dial 0800 111 999.

Prepare your home – keep a torch handy and get your appliances serviced by a Gas Safe registered engineer to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Vulnerable households can also get extra support by signing up to the Priority Services Register.

Keep your eyes open – keep an eye on the weather forecast and, if you have a power cut or a gas emergency, check on your neighbours.

Winter Resilience Committee

This year, gas and electricity network operators have worked with the Met Office, Age UK and National Energy Action to launch the Energy Network Associations ‘Winter Resilience Committee’. The Committee will focus on protecting those most in need and preparing the public for power cuts or gas emergencies throughout the winter period.

The Committee would like to raise awareness of Priority Services Registers which provide additional support to customers during power cuts or gas emergencies.

Priority Services Register

The Priority Services Register is a free service provided by suppliers and network operators to customers in need.

By registering for the service, customers and families are given peace of mind as they are kept informed as much as possible of power cuts affecting their home and are given special help if required.

You can receive the services available if you:

  • are of pensionable age
  • live with a child under five
  • are disabled or chronically ill
  • have a long-term medical condition
  • rely on medical equipment / refrigerated medicines
  • care for someone with dementia
  • have a hearing or visual impairment or additional communication needs
  • are in a vulnerable situation for a short period of time (eg recovering from medical treatment)

Visit the Ofgem website to learn more about the Priority Services Register and how to sign up.

Top ten tips for a warm and safe winter

  1. Keep the National Gas Emergency Service number (0800 111 999) handy and ring it immediately if you smell gas or suspect a deadly carbon monoxide leak.
  2. Keep the number of your gas boiler service contract provider, gas supplier (the company name at the top of your gas bill), or contact details for a Gas Safe Registered engineer to hand in case your gas boiler breaks down or shows an error message. Don’t call the National Gas Emergency Service, they can’t help and you could be blocking the line for a gas emergency.
  3. Get your gas appliances serviced by a Gas Safe Registered engineer. To find an engineer visit the gas safe register website or ring 0800 408 5500.
  4. If the condensate pipe from your boiler freezes, follow this simple advice to thaw it:
    • Hold a hot water bottle or heat wrap around the pipe
    • Alternatively, pour hot, NOT boiling, water over the frozen end of the pipe
    • If the boiler fires up, it’s fixed. If it doesn’t, pour hot water on the pipe again. If your pipes are still frozen, call your supplier.
  5. Register for your suppliers Priority Service Register.
  6. Buy an audible Carbon Monoxide alarm.
  7. Know the signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide.
  8. Call 105 if you have a power cut.
  9. Keep a torch handy in case of power cuts.
  10. Keep an eye on the weather forecast and if you have loss of gas supply or a power cut check on your neighbours.

Council Tenants

If you are a council tenant and experience issues with your heating or hot water carry out these checks. If the problem continues, report this to 0121 216 3330 (0121 675 8221 – textphone for people who are deaf or hard of hearing).

This article was posted on 17 December 2018

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