So you’re cosied up in the lounge, watching TV or listening to the radio, maybe surfing the net at the same time. Dinner’s in the oven and you’re thinking about putting a DVD on. Then suddenly there’s a ‘click’, and your world is plunged into darkness. Uh oh, it’s a power cut. Do you know what to do in a power cut?
Have a peek out the window. Can you see if your neighbours’ lights are on? If they’re not (or if the streetlights are out too, although they’re not always affected by power cuts), then it’s likely there’s a power shortage in the area. In this case, you need to ring your electricity supplier to inform them of the problem (it’s helpful to have the right number written down somewhere in case of such an event), and they should be able to tell you what’s going on.
If your neighbours’ lights are still twinkling away then the issue might be with your fuse box, so check it to see if any trip switches have gone off. If not, then the problem might be more complex and you should call an electrician.
Things like irons, ovens, electric fires and fryers need to be turned off straight away, because they could pose a hazard if the power comes back on and they’re unattended while you’re in bed or if you go out.
Fridges and freezers will keep food cool for several hours after the power goes out, so don’t panic! If you have ice in your freezer, put it in a cool box along with refrigerated dairy items such as milk, cheese, fish and meat to keep it fresh. Freezers will keep food frozen for longer if they’re fuller, so consider filling any gaps with tubs of water. Avoid unnecessarily opening fridge and freezer doors if possible, and cover freezer chests with blankets to create extra insulation (remember to take them off once the power is back).
It’s much safer to use torches than it is to burn candles or paraffin lamps, but if you must use these items then make sure you use them safely:
It’ll take a little while for your house to cool down if you’ve had the heating on, but if you find yourself getting chilly, load up on blankets and jumpers – and remember, a hug is a great way to keep warm! Try to keep mobile if possible as physical activity can help raise your body temperature – this is especially important for elderly people.
Most alarms have a battery back-up supply so their operation shouldn’t be affected by a power cut, and electrical locking systems are usually programmed to unlock if there’s an electricity supply problem. However, once the power comes back on you should still check they’re working as they should.
If the power is off for more than two or three hours, you might start worrying about your fishy friends heat pumps and filters won’t work during an outage. But there are a few things you can do to keep fish happy:
If you live near elderly or particularly vulnerable people, take a few minutes to pop round to check they’re okay and to ask if you can help with anything. The simple act of lending a blanket or helping them up the stairs in the dark could make a lot of difference to them.
Let’s be honest; it’s not often we’re cut off from the everyday distractions of TV, the internet, video games and so on. So why not make the power cut into a fun family event? Tell stories, go outside and look at the stars, hoover through any icecream you’ve got in the freezer – make the most of it! You could even play light switch roulette. Make sure all the light switches are set to ‘off’, then take turns giving them a flick at random intervals. Whoever ends up turning a light on wins!
Call 105 to report or get information about power cuts.
You can call 105 which wiill put you straight through to your electricity network operator from most landline and mobile numbers free of charge, alternatively here are the contact numbers for all district/electricity network operators:
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OVO Energy Ltd, registered office 1 Rivergate Temple Quay Bristol, BS1 6ED, company no. 06890795 registered in England and Wales, VAT No. 100119879
Additional terms and conditions
Please see below for full terms and conditions on 33% renewable electricity, 3% interest rewards, exit fees and saving claims.
1Monthly cost - Representative monthly direct debit costs based on a non-economy-7, dual-fuel, medium user (3100 kWhs elec. and 12500 kWhs gas) paying in advance by direct debit, including online discount. All rates correct as of 23/08/16, but may go up or down.
2Weekly cost - Representative weekly costs based on a non-economy-7, dual-fuel, medium user (3100 kWhs elec. and 12500 kWhs gas). All rates correct as of 23/08/16, but may go up or down.
3Pay Monthly Savings are based on the average estimated annual costs for new PAYM OVO customers quoted through the OVO website (based on household and/or consumption information provided by those customers), compared to their current supplier and tariff. Comparisons taken between 01/01/2016 and 11/10/16. Incl VAT. Actual savings may vary according to your current supplier or tariff, individual tariff options, household information, consumption and location.
4Pay As You Go Savings are based on the average estimated annual costs for new PAYG OVO customers quoted through the OVO website (based on household and/or consumption information provided by those customers), compared to their current supplier and tariff. Comparisons taken between 01/01/2016 and 11/10/16. Incl VAT. Actual savings may vary according to your current supplier or tariff, individual tariff options, household information, consumption and location.
We include almost twice as much renewable electricity as the national average: At least 33% of electricity in all of our tariffs comes from renewable sources. The national average, according to Ofgem as at March 2014 was 16.7%. For more information please visit this page.
33% of your electricity comes from renewable sources: 33% renewable electricity as standard as of 1st April 2015. Renewable electricity is generated from wind, solar, geothermal, wave, tidal, hydro, biomass, landfill gas, sewage treatment plant gas and biogas.
3% interest: Calculated at 3% per year, paid monthly based on number of days in credit and the amount left in your account after you’ve paid your bill. OVO Interest Reward is capped at 12 times the amount of the current direct debit amount and is available to customers paying by advance direct debit. Terms apply: http://www.ovoenergy.com/terms/
95% of new customers save when switching to OVO: Based on all new customer signups between 01/02/2016 and 31/07/2016
94% of surveyed customers would recommend us: OVO conducted a survey of their customers in between 1st January 2016 and 15th April 2016. Out of 15,312 customers who responded, over 94% rated OVO 6+ when asked 'how likely would you be to recommend us to a friend and family, on a scale of 1 to 10.
Britain's top rated energy provider: Britain's top rated energy provider in the Which? 2015 satisfaction survey. Survey conducted in October 2015. Awarded in January 2016.