The energy networks are built to withstand high winds, heavy rain and snow. But sometimes severe weather can bring down power lines and cause power cuts. Gas central heating boilers also work harder in colder months, so it’s best to prepare and make sure your gas appliances are winter ready.
When severe weather is forecast
There are some important precautions you can take in the rare event power is cut or if you are worried about gas safety.
Prepare - Make a plan: know what to do if you have a power cut or smell gas
- Follow your network operator on social media so you can find local updates. Find them at energynetworks.org/be-winter-ready
- Save 105, the free national power cut emergency number, to your phone.
- Save 0800 111 999, the free national gas emergency number, to your phone.
- Keep a mobile phone fully charged so you can use it to go online for updates or call if you have a power cut.
- Keep a torch handy in case you are without power during the night.
- Have warm clothes, blankets and food which doesn’t need heating accessible.
Care - Check in with people who might need extra help
- Check on neighbours, family and friends to make sure they have a plan if they have a power cut or smell gas
- Check now to see if you or someone you know can get extra help during bad weather through the Priority Services Register
- The Priority Services Register is a free service to help people who have additional needs. You can sign up by contacting your energy supplier and network operator. Remember to keep your supplier or network operator updated if your circumstances change
Share - Share this information so friends and family can make a plan too
- Share this information and the www.energynetworks.org/be-winter-ready website with others
Gas safety checks
It’s a good idea to check your gas appliances are set for the colder the winter months when bad weather is more likely. Many suppliers offer safety check services, including gas central heating boiler checks. Contact your energy provider to ask about them. You can find your supplier’s contact details on a recent energy bill.
Depending on your personal circumstances, you might be eligible for a free gas safety check every 12 months. You are eligible if you get a means-tested benefit and either live:
- with others who have reached state pension age or are disabled, chronically ill or under 18 years old.
- with a child under five years old
- alone or with others and have reached state pension age
- alone or with others and are disabled or chronically ill.
Landlords are normally responsible for keeping your gas appliances safe if you rent a property. The Health and Safety Executive website provides more advice on what landlords must do.
What’s the role of network operators?
Energy network operators monitor bad weather closely and prepare their response with extensive emergency plans.
Before a storm. Preparations don't just happen just before a storm. We make sure trees are trimmed all year round to cut the risk of them falling or their branches touching power cables or other infrastructure. We also plan shifts for winter, so extra emergency teams are available around the clock when needed.
When a storm is forecast. Network operators arrange standby emergency teams and place vehicles and resources in strategic locations - like big substations or in remote parts of the network. That way we can make repairs quickly if we need to. Control rooms and local network operator customer service teams also bring in more staff so we can keep customers informed and support our engineers on the ground.
During a storm. The Energy Networks Association co-ordinates a joint response from across the energy networks. We collate information from our members and share updates through the news and social media. We also update our Be Winter Ready advice and our social media channels with the latest information and customer guidance. If a storm is causing issues, you'll see an orange banner at the top of this website. It will also direct you to the latest information.
Need extra help?
The energy networks can help if you have additional needs because of your medical or personal circumstances. Registering for your local network operator’s free Priority Services scheme also helps us prioritise getting to you first in an emergency. Contact your energy supplier or local network operator to sign up. Each keeps their own register.
If you depend on power for medical equipment and don’t already have your own power cut plan, you should speak to your healthcare provider now. Power cuts can happen all-year-round so it’s important you are prepared and know what to do.
Check how you or someone you know can get extra help during bad weather with the Priority Services Register.
Found a damaged power line or infrastructure?
- Keep as far away from the hazard as possible.
- Keep other people as far away from the hazard as possible, but don't put yourself in danger.
- Contact your network operator immediately. In Great Britain, call 105. In Northern Ireland, call 03457 643643. In the Republic of Ireland, call 1850 372 999.
- If there is an immediate risk to life or someone is in danger, call 999.