A simples guide

What should I do in a power cut?

It can be disconcerting and scary when the electricity suddenly goes off, particularly if it’s at night and you’re plunged into darkness. Being prepared in terms of what to do and who to contact can help put you back in control.

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What causes a power cut?

When you experience a power cut it’s usually because your home has been cut off from the electricity network. They can be caused for a number of reasons such as a fault at a power station, damage to transmission lines, sub-stations or other parts of the network. Extreme weather can be a contributor if it brings down power lines for example.

Being prepared

There’s a few things that can make life a bit more comfortable in the event of a power cut.

  • Being able to see in the dark is a significant one. Have a torch or two that you always keep in the same place so that you can find them even in the dark. Hopefully it goes without saying that they should have good batteries in them too!
  • This will immediately make people feel just a little more comfortable and you might want to keep some candles so you can light a couple of rooms if you needed to as well.
  • Most advice you will read will tell you to simply pick up your phone and call the network provider. A mobile, charged and ready to go will be a big help, especially if your landline fails!
  • Record the number of your Local Distribution Company (see below) somewhere safe so you’ll have it to hand. Trying to look it up online will be tricky if your router has no power or if your phone has died. Inside or near your fuse box is a good place to keep it.

What should you do if there’s a power cut?

The first thing you need to establish is whether the power cut is due to a problem in your own home or a wider fault affecting more of the network.

  • Check your fuse box. If any of the fuses have tripped that may well be the cause, try resetting them.
  • Are you the only property affected? Check with your neighbours. If only your house is affected it’s more likely to be an internal fault but if the whole street is down, you can be pretty sure that it’s a network wide issue.
  • Contact your Local Distribution Company (LDC) if necessary.
Power plant

Contacting your LDC

In the event of a power cut, you might think that you simply need to call your electricity supplier. While that’s perfectly logical thinking, it’s not the case. LDCs manage the power lines that connect your home to the electricity grid so it’s these companies that you need to contact.

The country is divided into regions with different regions having different LDCs:


Eastern England (UK Power Networks)

Emergency: 0800 783 8838

East Midlands (Western Power Distribution)

Emergency: 0800 6783 105

London (UK Power Networks)

Emergency: 0800 316 3105

Merseyside, Cheshire, North Wales and North Shropshire (SP Energy Networks)

Emergency: 0800 001 5400

West Midlands (Western Power Distribution)

Emergency: 0800 6783 105

North East England (Northern Power Grid)

Emergency: 0800 668 877

North West England (Electricity Northwest)

Emergency: 0800 195 4141

North Scotland (Scottish and Southern Energy)

Emergency: 0800 300 999

Central and Southern Scotland (SP Energy Networks)

Emergency: 0800 092 9290

South East England (UK Power Networks)

Emergency: 0800 783 8666

Southern England (Scottish and Southern Energy)

Emergency: 0800 072 7282

South Wales (Western Power Distribution)

Emergency: 0800 6783 105

South West England (Western Power Distribution)

Emergency: 0800 6783 105

Yorkshire (Northern Power Grid)

Emergency: 0800 375 675


It’s reassuring to know that most power cuts don’t last very long and you’ll soon be able to get back to normal. Regardless of the duration, being prepared can help you and your family.