Here is a message that councillors have just received today (18th July 2014) regarding possible disruption to electricity supplies from thunderstorms:
Today is a normal day across the networks with no widespread power cuts due to the weather. However, UK Power Networks has been notified of a severe weather warning from the Met Office with heavy rain, thunderstorms and lightning forecast to hit the East of England, South East of England and the London area this Friday night and over Saturday 19th July.
Our paramount focus will be on restoring electricity to customers as quickly and safely as possible and we are currently putting in place a range of measures to be better prepared to respond to any potential impact on our networks and customers.
We are preparing to deal with the storm’s potential impact on our network and customers.
Below are some of the measures we are taking:
• We are arranging additional staff to cover call centre roles. Additional people have been allocated to take and make phone calls and provisions are in place for even more engineers and resources to be available on short notice in case of need.
• We invest in a partnership arrangement with the British Red Cross and can activate their volunteers to support vulnerable customers if power is affected.
• The emergency teams in the local authorities have access to the web link that enables them to see fault levels.
Our electricity network is built to be resilient but extreme weather can affect overhead power lines when tree branches and windborne debris damage them. In the event of a power cuts as result of the localised gusts, lightning and heavy rain, UK Power Network’s priority will be to restore supplies as quickly as is safely possible and keep people informed as best we can during a constantly changing situation. We will work from job to job targeting big jobs first where many customers are affected.
In communication with customers, we urge the public to stay well clear from power lines and anyone spotting a damaged power line needs to report it to UK Power Networks.
To report any power cuts and damaged lines on free helplines, please refer customers to the following numbers: In the South East call 0800 783 8866, in the East of England call 0800 783 8838 and in London call 0800 028 0247. You can also see www.ukpowernetworks.co.uk and follow the company on twitter for updates @ukpowernetworks .
Preparing for a power cut
Below is some advice on how our customers can prepare for a power cut:
• Keep our freephone number handy
• See the website for some useful videos offering you advice during a power cut.
• Keep spare batteries for radios and torches – local radio stations often broadcast helpful information
• Keep an old-fashioned corded phone which you can plug in, as cordless phones won’t work in the event of a power cut
• Take care if using candles, tea-lights and other naked flames
• Keep fridges and freezers closed, with a blanket over as they will stay cold for many hours
• Switch off all your electrical equipment, except one light which will let you know when the power comes back on
• Remember the street lights may also be off so take care if you go out
• Exercise caution in localised flooded areas -specific advice is available on the Environment Agency website.
• Look out for elderly neighbours and other vulnerable people