ENA welcomes Ofcom consultation on a 3 Digit Number for electricity networks

Monday 16 February 2015

Communications regulator Ofcom has launched a consultation on a proposed 3 Digit Number (3DN) for members of the public to contact their local electricity network operator if they experience a power cut, have an associated welfare related concern or encounter an electricity network safety issue.

The severe storm events over the winter 2013/14 period and the electricity supply disruptions they caused, highlighted that the general public is confused about what number to call to report an electricity network supply issue and obtain important information or advice.

Energy Networks Association (ENA) is progressing delivery of a single memorable number for customers to call in such situations and Ofcom’s consultation on designation of 3DN “105” marks a significant step in the programme.

ENA Chief Executive David Smith said, “Communicating with customers is vital during incidents and our industry is committed to making it simpler for people to get information and advice when they need it. A memorable three digit number, in conjunction with an effective customer awareness campaign, will help customers make prompt contact with their electricity network operator when they need to.

 “There is a robust regulatory process associated with obtaining a three digit number as there is only a limited number of them available; and we have had to present a very strong case to Ofcom for “105” to be designated for this extremely important service for customers.

“Today’s consultation marks further progress in the delivery of the 3DN, and we are confident that we will meet the planned launch date of April 2016. Similar national help lines have taken up to nine years from inception, through regulatory approval and technical implementation, to delivery, so we are pleased with the speed of progress so far.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors

* In March 2014, the Electricity Networks Association (ENA) was charged by the Department for Energy and Climate Change to deliver a single number for use in England, Wales and Scotland, on behalf of all Electricity Network Operators.

The consultation can be found on the Ofcom website.

Given the disruption and safety concerns arising from a power outage, it is very important that the general public is readily aware of the number that they should call if there is an issue of any sort with the electricity supply network. This necessitates not only that there is a single number for the general public to call but that this number is memorable and strongly associated with the critical service it accesses. A 3 digit number (3DN) is required to achieve this.

There is a limited set of 3DNs available and Ofcom has the responsibility for ensuring that these are used in a way that maximises benefits to citizens and consumers. ENA has submitted an application to Ofcom which provides detailed evidence supporting the need for a 3DN for the purposes outlined above. The consultation launched by the regulator today will run until 24th March and seek views on the case outlined.

Subject to Ofcom approval following the consultation, ENA will aim for the 3DN service to be launched in April 2016.