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Heatwave: Energy networks respond to first Met Office red extreme heat warning

19 July 2022

Press contacts for journalists

ENA Press Office

[email protected]

Record-breaking heat is being experienced in the UK, with temperatures exceeding 40c in some places. There are no widespread power cuts. Here's our latest update.

Update: Tuesday, 19/07/2022 16:00

Ross Easton, Director of External Affairs at Energy Networks Association said:

"There are no widespread power cuts but with record-breaking temperatures across parts of the country we are seeing some local issues. Engineering teams are working to fix any issues quickly and safely. The safety of our teams in this heat is of paramount importance, particularly considering the heavy-duty protective clothing required to do their jobs."

  • Temperatures are in excess of 40c in parts of the UK.
  • Power Cut? Enter your postcode to find your local network operator. Visit their website to see the latest update and to report a power cut via your mobile. Unable to report online? Call 105 for free.

Update: Friday, 15/07/2022 15:20

The Met Office has issued a red extreme heat warning in the east of England, the Midlands and parts of the North West on Monday and Tuesday with temperatures forecast to reach as high as 40°C in some areas, including London. An amber warning is in place across the rest of England, Wales and some parts of southern Scotland.

Ross Easton, Director of External Affairs at Energy Networks Association said:

"The energy networks are operating as normal and we're preparing for a period of extreme heat in parts of the UK over the coming days. Network infrastructure is designed for extreme temperatures but network companies in the areas affected by the Red Warning from the Met Office have escalated their internal preparedness as a precaution. This is done as standard when extreme weather is forecast and helps us prepare should there be any impact on customers. This includes ensuring our engineers' safety is put first and foremost, considering the heavy-duty protective clothing required to do their jobs."

What do your preparations involve?

  • Looking at staff availability and stocks of equipment and replacement parts
  • Ensuring staff know how to stay safe in extreme heat
  • In some instances, where appropriate, contacting vulnerable customers on our Priority Services Register
  • Monitoring the network for any areas of concern and, where possible, addressing those issues before there is any disruption

Long-standing arrangements, known as 'NEWSAC' (Northern Eastern Western and Southern Area Consortium) provide for the voluntary and temporary transfer of staff and equipment from one company to another. This mutual support in emergencies helps network operators to restore energy to customers quicker when needed. While there is no need to trigger this arrangement at present, network companies are in regular communication about their requirements over the coming days. This is standard when a Met Office weather warning is issued.

Are you concerned about increased energy demand?

National Grid ESO - which operates the electricity system in Great Britain - has the relevant tools and experience to deliver safe and secure system operation at national transmission level. Their control room engineers are used to managing heatwaves and their demand models account for varying temperatures.

Unlike traditionally hotter parts of the world such as parts of the United States, the Middle East and Australia, UK households don't typically have air conditioning units installed which contribute to electricity demand during the summer months. UK electricity demand is typically around 30GW over the summer period, compared to almost double that in the winter months. Gas demand is also lower in the summer months compared to winter.

What's your advice to customers?

Customers can find advice and information on how to cope in the heatwave from the NHS website.

The energy networks are operating as normal right now. If you have a power cut, call 105 free or contact your network operator directly (who's my energy network operator?). If you smell gas, call the national gas emergency number on 0800 111 999. In Northern Ireland call 0800 002 001.

Call 105 if you spot damage to electricity power lines and substations that could put you, or someone else, in danger. If there's a serious immediate risk, you should call the emergency services. 105 is a free service, available to people in England, Scotland and Wales. Customers in Northern Ireland should call 03457 643 643.

What about customers with additional needs?

You should consider joining the free Priority Services Register. It helps energy companies look after customers who have extra communication, access or safety needs. It's available all year round. It helps companies tailor their services to support households that might need extra help. This would include regular updates about the situation, and in some alternative heating and cooking facilities, alternative accommodation and hot meals in the event of a supply interruption. Those who can join the Priority Services Register include customers who are:

  • Of pensionable age
  • Disabled, chronically sick, or have a long-term medical condition
  • Hearing or visually impaired or require additional communication needs
  • In a vulnerable situation
  • Have young children in the home

About Energy Networks Association

Energy Networks Association (ENA) is the industry body representing the companies which operate the electricity wires, gas pipes and energy system in the UK and Ireland.

ENA helps its members meet the challenge of delivering electricity and gas to communities across the UK and Ireland safely, sustainably and reliably.

Its members include every major electricity and gas network operator in the UK and Ireland, independent operators, National Grid ESO which operates the electricity system in Great Britain and National Grid Gas which operates the gas system in Great Britain. Its affiliate membership also includes companies with an interest in energy, including Heathrow Airport and Network Rail.

What are energy network operators?

Energy network operators manage and maintain the wires, pipes and other infrastructure which delivers electricity and gas to your home, business and community. They are private companies which are regulated by Ofgem and employ around 45,000 people in the UK and Ireland. They are represented by their industry body, Energy Networks Association (that's us).

Press contacts for journalists

ENA Press Office

[email protected]