Power outages

Electricity power cuts

Be prepared

It is important to have a few key things to hand for power cuts, these are listed below and here is further advice on emergency kits and grab bags

  • keep key phone numbers handy, including 0800 31 63 105 or105, the free national power cut emergency number
  • keep a torch with spare batteries
  • keep a wind up or battery powered radio
  • keep your mobile phone charged and keep your battery pack charged if you have one
  • make sure vulnerable people are registered on the Priority Services Register (Link to new page)

Priority services

All utility companies operate priority service registers so they can support vulnerable people if there is a problem with supplies. You have to register for this service.

In the event of an emergency, these registers allow the organisations to identify those who may need assistance or are made vulnerable by the utility failure.

Find out more on our priority services register page.

What to do during a power cut

Check the extent of the power outage

Check if it is just your property that has been affected.

If it is dusk/night, check if the streetlights are off – if they are, this is an indication there is a wider power outage. ​

If daylight, check your fuse box/ circuit breakers – if these have not tripped, this would indicate a wider power outage.​

Check with neighbours whether they have power or not.​

You will not be able to connect to the internet through your home router but you should be able to use your mobile phone to access the internet. If this isn't working, it could indicate that the mobile masts have lost power too and the power cut is affecting a wider area.

If you are unable to connect to external websites, but still have a signal, this would indicate a wider outage –  not being able to connect to a website would show that the servers do not have power – this is a generalised assumption, servers may have back-up power sources.​

Get updates

Check your provider’s website for updates about the power cut or to report a power cut.

The two main providers in Bedfordshire are below. If you do not know which is your provider, you can visit the 105 website or call 0800 31 63 105 or 105 for free.

UK Power Networks

National Grid Electricity Distribution (NGED)

If it is a national power outage (NPO), tune into Radio 2 or Radio 4 in your car for updates or use wind-up radio if you have one.

Staying safe

It's especially important if you are unwell, less mobile or very young to keep warm. Dress warmly with layers, a hat and gloves and have blankets to hand, so you can keep warm until the power is back on. You can also reduce heat loss by closing doors on unused rooms and closing your curtains.

Check on vulnerable neighbours. Make sure they have warm clothes, blankets and food which doesn’t need heating accessible. 

Vulnerable people should consider making alternative arrangements to stay with family or friends if possible.

Take care if you travel, as road signals, including traffic lights, may not be working. Petrol stations may not be working, so make sure you have enough fuel. Public transport services may not be available.

Switch off electrical appliances that should not be left unattended. This includes irons and other devices that could present danger if they restart when the power comes back on.

Be careful if you are using candles. An open flame should always be used responsibly. Never leave lit candles in unoccupied rooms or with unsupervised children or animals.

You may be concerned at this time about the food in your fridge and freezer. Food should keep for between 4-6 hours in the fridge and 15-24 hours in the freezer if you can avoid opening it. Eat fresh perishable or refrigerated food that can be eaten without being cooked first and consume tinned food last.