Western Power Distribution operates the power network in Staffordshire. With hundreds of miles of cable, small disruptions are inevitable. However, most power cuts are fixed within an hour or so.
Instances of electricity failure (also referred to as power loss or blackout) can be caused by a number of things, such as severe weather (e.g. very strong winds, lightning and flooding) which damage the distribution network. Damage to the National Electricity Transmission System is much more rare but could cause significant electricity disruption and in extreme cases, a widespread loss of power. These failures could be local, regional or national.
The UK's power network has never completely failed. Were it to occur, impacts would be very severe, causing widespread disruption. The National Grid has a recovery process called ‘Black Start’ to recover the network from a total or partial shutdown. Based on current plans, Black Start recovery could take up to five days with potential for some additional disruption beyond this timescale in the event of significant network damage.
Are you vulnerable?
If you or a member of your family would be particularly vulnerable during a power cut, such as having electrical medical equipment, learning difficulties, a priority register is available to provide extra support during a power cut.
What to do during a power cut
If you experience a power cut, you can call ‘105’ to report it and get further information.
This is a free national service that covers England, Scotland and Wales. 105 is one of the ways you can contact your Distribution Network Operator, who is responsible for maintaining the power lines that bring electricity to your home and business. Both your Distribution Network Operator and the 105 number remain the same no matter who you choose to buy your electricity from.
The Powercut 105 website also contains advice on how to prepare for a power cut along with simple steps to take if one occurs.
If you lose access to the internet along with your power, general preparations are also relevant. Particularly large-scale electricity failures may prevent landline telephones and mobile phone transmitters from working (which will also affect mobile internet).
Regardless of the situation, organisations will be working to restore power as soon as possible. Be sure to have an Emergency Grab Bag incase you have a prolonged power cut.