The UK could be facing a winter of blackouts, with power outages of up to three hours predicted if gas supplies run low. The warning comes from the National Grid, who said while the scenario was “unlikely” there could be supply interruptions if the energy crisis gets worse. If you don’t want to be caught off guard and own an iPhone or Android device there’s a simple thing you can do to prepare for issues that could hit your area.
A number of electricity operators, such as Northern Power Grid and UK Power Networks, offer text alert systems which keep Android and iPhone users up-to-date on power outages.
If your supplier offers this system and you sign-up you’ll be sent messages letting you know when a power outage has hit, how work is progressing to fix the issue and when it has been resolved.
Along with getting useful updates, signing up for these services can be invaluable as power cuts can also affect your mobile internet connection, leaving you without web access during a blackout – this makes it even harder to find out what is going on.
If you want to find out who is the operator in your area then head over to this page on the Energy Networks Association website.
Enter your postcode and you’ll find out who the network operator is in your area. Then head on over to their website to see if they offer a text alert system for power outages.
If your provider doesn’t offer text alerts then – in the event of a blackout – you can alternatively call 105.
This free service will give you information on power cuts in your area and let you report when one has taken place.
Speaking about the threat of blackouts this winter, a spokesperson for National Grid ESO – the electricity system operator for Great Britain – told Express.co.uk: “Overall, this is likely to be a challenging winter for energy supply throughout Europe.
“We have taken extensive measures to try to mitigate the impacts for British consumers and expect that, under our base case, margins will be adequate.”
While the Energy Networks Association added: “Procedures for emergency planned power cuts like this have existed for decades and are simulated in emergency exercises by the energy sector each year ahead of the winter.
“If needed, the emergency procedures are designed to minimise the impact on customers as far as possible, by limiting power cuts to shorter periods in order to manage overall electricity demand. However, while the winter is expected to be challenging, there is no guarantee emergency measures will be necessary.
“If an emergency power cut is implemented, customers in certain parts of the country would typically be without power for around three hours per day during the emergency.”
Besides signing up to any text alerts that energy networks provide in your area, you may want to pick up a few supplies to help you prepare for a blackout.
Amid warnings of potential power cuts this winter there has already been a spike in people buying candles, as they stock up in the event of a blackout.
While Brits have also been purchasing electric blankets and energy-efficient slow cookers to help keep their heating bills down amid the ongoing cost of living crisis.
One other item you may want to invest in this winter is a power bank – given how indispensable smartphones have become to our day-to-day lives you wouldn’t want to run out of battery on your phone in the event of a power cut.
This is especially the case if you use your phone as a torch or think you will need to call anyone if a blackout hits.
There’s a huge selection of power banks on the market so you won’t be spoilt for choice.