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  • Power cuts
    Frequently asked questions

    We know a power cut can be difficult, and it's common for questions to be asked about why the power cut occurred and what you should do. Our frequently asked questions answer our most common queries, however, we're always happy to speak to you 24 hours a day if you want extra help.

    Am I entitled to any compensation for the power cut I experienced?

    We award compensation in line with Ofgem's Quality of Service Guaranteed Standards. Ofgem provides us with guidelines in which circumstances we should pay compensation to customers, and we follow this. 

    How much you are eligible to claim compensation under the Guaranteed Standards depends on many factors, including:
    - The cause of the power cut.
    - The amount of time you were off supply.

    Circumstances in which you can claim compensation are as followed: 

    If you are cut off for 12 hours or more in ‘normal weather’, you can claim:
    £75 as a domestic customer.
    £150 as a non-domestic customer.
    (Normal weather conditions is the status in most cases. Details on this can be found here). 

    A further £35 will be paid for each additional period of 12 hours in which supply is not restored up to a cap of £300 in total.

    If more than 5,000 homes are affected by a single fault, we have 24 hours to restore supplies.

    You can also claim £75 (both domestic and non-domestic customers) if you are cut off more than four times in a year between 1 April and 31 March for at least three hours each time.

    We understand that these requirements for compensation can be frustrating, however, this provides us and other network operators a fair and easy way to ensure customers are compensated for any inconvenience caused by a power cut. 

    If you have a question about compensation, please visit our complaints page and contact our customer relations team. 

    For more information on the compensation under the Guaranteed Standards click here.

    Can you keep me updated during a power cut?

    Of course! We can keep you updated via text message, phone call or even on social media - we’re here to provide you with a 10/10 service. When you speak to us, we'll always offer you one of these 3 methods of update.  

    To find out how to contact us in a power cut, click here. 

    Could you let me know if we are expecting any power cuts in the future?

    Unfortunately, we cannot predict when you will have a power cut, however, we do sometimes plan to isolate supplies in order to upgrade or fix our network. If we do plan to isolate your power, we aim to do this at least 5 days beforehand and with 72 hours at a minimum. In some cases, we do have to isolate power with no notice in emergency situations where there are safety concerns.

    How do I reset my trip switches?

    To make sure the issue is not internal, you may need to check your trip switches at your consumer unit. 

    When you get there, you should turn all of your trip switches to the off position (usually down), and then switch them all back on starting with the main trip switch. If at any point one of them will not go up, or they all go off once you've turned one on, this means there is an issue inside the property - this is usually an appliance. You can find what appliance this is by turning them all off, resetting the trip switches and turning the appliances on one by one until the power trips out again - this is your faulty appliance.

    I am experiencing a power outage where some, but not all, of my lights and appliances have turned off, are flickering, or are dimming?

    This is a partial power outage, which could be caused by low voltage coming into your property, we would advise you to unplug as many appliances as possible which should mean essential appliances such as your fridge and freezer will work. Once you've done this, give us a call on 105 or send us a message so one of the team can help. 

    I am reliant on electricity for medical reasons, can I get any extra help?

    We recognise some of our customers may need support in other ways during power cuts. If you feel you will need extra help in the event of a power cut, please contact us to discuss your concerns on 105.

    We strongly recommend you sign up to our Priority Service Register, it's free and enables us to provide you with extra in an outage. 

    I am worried my fridge/freezer contents will be ruined, what can I do to preserve them without power?

    Most fridge/freezers maintain their temperature for 8-12 hours without power. If you check your appliance guidelines they should specify this. We do advise that you keep the doors on them shut as this will preserve the temperature and you can place a blanket or a towel over the fridge/freezer to assist in insulating it. 

    I had a power cut, my supplies are now restored via a generator, why is this?

    On some occasions, if we are unable to fix the fault straight away, we may temporarily install a mobile generator to get the power back on. Following this our engineers will work hard to repair the fault as soon as possible to get you back onto our electricity network (also known as mains supply). 

    Once we've repaired the fault, we may have to isolate power for a short amount of time in order to reconnect you to our main network. 

    I have a power cut, but not all of my neighbours do too, why is this?

    There’s a fault on our local network, this fault is affecting one of our three phases that come from your local substation. A phase is a cable that runs down your street and to your home. We split this into 3 sections so that when a fault does occur, it will only affect a third of homes rather than everyone connected to the substation, it also helps us understand where the fault is located. You may notice that your neighbours still have power, but a couple of houses up, they also have a power cut, this is because we design the network to feed 1 in 3 properties. 

    I have had multiple power cuts recently, what is the issue and when will they stop?

    Sometimes, faults that cause power cuts are due to tiny cracks in our cables, making them very hard to find. The power goes off because our network detects a fault, blowing a fuse at the substation to avoid a dangerous situation (like a fuse would in your home).

    Due to the heat that our cables generate, by the time our engineers get on site the crack in the cable may have fused itself back together making it very hard to locate. There is now a weak point on the cable though which still needs repaired and can crack again causing a power cut at any time (sometimes rain can trigger a further fault).

    These are some of the most annoying faults for both our customers and our engineers due to the frequency of them and the challenges involved in repairing them.

    We don't just leave it like that though, the moment we have confirmed there is an ongoing issue on the network we will fit specialist equipment at the local substation. This equipment is designed to do two things; firstly, when the fuse blows next time, it'll automatically try to replace the fuse with a backup fuse and restore power - this should usually give us enough time to get an engineer on site and investigate. Secondly, in the background, the equipment is actually trying to locate the fault. Once it has enough information, it sends a map to us to tell us where the fault could be. We then immediately get engineers on the way who will repair the fault and therefore create a more reliable electricity supply.

    Please do make us aware every time you have a power outage, as the sooner we can get an engineer out, the more likely we are to locate the fault.

    I have just had a power cut, will I get money off my bills?

    It's our job to maintain the electricity network and distribute power to homes in northern Scotland and central southern England. We do not deal with bills, your meter or any aspect of your electricity account. If you have a question about your electricity bill, you should call your energy supplier - you'll find their number on your most recent bill.  

    I have partial power to my property, why is this?

    You could have an internal problem or a phase down. We would ask you to fully reset your trip switches, if your power come back on after you’ve done this, is an internal problem. If all of your trip switches are in the ‘on’ position once you have reset them, give us a call on 105 or send us a message as soon as possible and one of the team will be happy to help.  

    I keep having a series of short power cuts, why is this?

    This is likely being caused by something called an ‘Auto-Reclose’. An auto re-closure is part of our safety equipment on the main network. The reason for your power going on and off is because something may have touched one of our overhead lines. The most likely causes are tree branches, wildlife or even strong winds coming in contact with our overhead wires. You may notice that your power will come on very soon after the interruption, the reason for this is that our network will automatically try to re-power the affected area within minutes. If the safety equipment still detects something on the wire, the power will stay off until our engineers get to site and investigate. 

    If this continues to happen in a particular area, we will send staff to patrol the line and find out what is causing the issue.  

    This is all for safety reasons and to prevent further damage to our network.

    The cause of this could also be switching on our network. See "My power keeps going on and off, what is happening?"

    I’ve seen engineers standing around that seem to be doing nothing during my recent power cut?

    Our engineers are determined to get your power back on as safely and efficiently as they can. There are situations where our engineers have to wait for instructions from our control centre in order to continue work safely. It's also common for our first response engineers to wait for additional resources such as digging crews to continue work. All of our engineers are required to update us throughout the fault, this enables us to provide you with the most up to date information, but also for us to understand what stage of the fault repair our engineers are at. 

    If you want to speak to us about this, you can contact us or speak to one of the engineers - they'll always be happy to help. 

    My power keeps going on and off, what is happening?

    If there is a fault in your area, our engineers may be doing something called 'switching the network'. This can cause an intermittent supply to customers connected to networks near the area affected. This is because switching involves us switching on electricity from different points of the network. We are basically taking electricity from a healthy part of our network to power the customers directly affected by the fault temporarily. There are two reasons for this, firstly, it will get most customers back on supply quickly as we can usually switch the network around remotely from our control centre. Secondly, we will be able to narrow down where the fault is as customers that remain off supply will be located near the fault, we will then work hard to get this fault repaired quickly. Our first priority is to get as many customers back on power as soon as possible.

    During this process you may notice your power going on and off, please don't be alarmed, this is just because we are switching the electricity on and off to try and locate the fault. It doesn’t usually last long and may happen when we repair the fault too.

    Please still report the intermittent supply to us so that we can confirm whether this is likely due to switching. 

    This could also be due to something called an 'auto-reclose'. See "I keep having a series of short power cuts, why is this?" for more information. 

    What is the 105 number?

    105 is the new number to call if you have a power cut or come across a dangerous situation involving electricity. The number is free to call from any landline or mobile. 

    Many people don’t know they should contact their local electricity network operator if they have a power cut. They often mistakenly call the electricity supplier they pay their bills to.

    That’s why the electricity network operators have introduced 105 – to give you an easy-to-remember number to call that will put you through to the local people who can help.

    You can call 105 no matter who you choose to buy electricity from.


    What should I do in the event of a power cut?

    If you are without power, we suggest you to fully reset your trip switches as in many cases this will restore the power without the need of an engineer attending, if you’ve done this and your power doesn’t return, give us a call on 105 or send us a message as soon as possible.  

  • Staff member talking to a customer on their door step

    Priority Services

    We offer extra help during a power cut to customers who join our Priority Services Register. Find out more
  • Picture of a mobile phone showing our Power Track app.

    Live updates on power cuts

    Take a look at the map for details of any power cuts affecting customers in our network regions. Live updates