It’s possible that a fuse might have tripped and cut off the power only to your home. Check outside to see if neighbours’ lights are still on - if they are, it’s probably an issue specific to your property.
This is especially important if you have anything that could start a fire if it comes back on and you’ve forgotten about it. Hair straighteners and electric hobs, fires or blankets are some of the main fire hazards to be aware of.
Leave a light switch flicked to the “on” position so you’ll know when the power comes back.
If the power cut occurs during the winter months, your home will probably get cold fairly quickly depending on how effective its insulation is. Make sure you use blankets, throws and extra clothing to stay warm, especially as you don’t know how long the power will be off for.
You can report a power cut to your network operator by calling 105 - don’t assume someone else will have already reported it.
Generally you should never attempt to fix a power cut yourself, but if the issue is contained to your home, it may be a case of resetting your fuse box. You’ll be able to see if any fuse switches have flipped to the off position - flipping them back on should resolve the problem. If it’s not a tripped fuse and you’re not a trained electrician, it’s best to wait for the network operator to fix the issue or call in a professional.
If the power cut was unplanned (or if it was planned but goes on for longer than you were notified it would), you could be eligible for compensation. Find out how to claim it in our power cut compensation guide.
There have been warnings that the UK may face planned blackouts over the winter of 2022-23 as the European energy storage crisis continues. They would work as follows:
The National Grid would give energy users 24 hours' notice in advance of asking them to cut their energy usage at peak times to protect supplies. Households signed up to the flexibility scheme (currently available only to those with smart meters whose supplier has signed up) would be paid to incentivise them to do this.
If usage is cut, the blackout won't happen. If usage isn't cut, the blackout may take place 24 hours later.
At the time of writing, the National Grid has not conducted any blackouts, though reports circulated on 28 November 2022 that it was considering asking energy customers to start using the flexibility scheme in order to avoid one. Ultimately, it decided that the request wasn't necessary.
Your home internet connection will likely be affected if your home has a power cut. Your Wi-Fi router needs to be plugged into the mains in order to work, so if there’s no power going to your sockets, the router (and also your landline, if you use one) won’t be able to work.
Plus, some power cuts might affect your nearby landline and broadband cables, so if they are switched off you won’t have any connection at home.
The best way to stay online during a power cut is usually to use your mobile phone - you could also tether it to another device if you want to continue using a bigger screen. But power cuts sometimes affect local mobile signal masts too, so in those cases you might not be able to get online with your phone either.
In most cases, you will still be able to use your mobile phone during a power cut. Local power cuts usually only affect a particular area, so provided your local mobile signal masts are outside of the affected region, your mobile signal should work as normal.
If you’re unlucky enough to have your local mast affected by a power cut too, you might not be able to get a signal for internet or calls. However, emergency calls are available through every network, not just yours. So you might see an ‘emergency calls only’ message if your usual mast is down, but you’re within range of another.
Unfortunately, because medical equipment like oxygen concentrators and home dialysis machines will be connected to the mains, they won’t work in the event of a power cut. There are steps you can take to minimise the impact this will have, such as making sure you’re on the Priority Services Register which will ensure you have priority access to help throughout a power cut, and making sure you have a back-up power source if possible.
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