Crime and safety
National power outage
What you can do now to prepare for a power outage and things to do during one to make things easier for you and your family.
What to do in a national power outage
A power outage affects a large area. When electricity has been cut, your gas supply may also be disrupted. Internet and phone services are affected and your landline phone may still work with a wired handset.
Utility companies will be aware of the outage and working to restore your services as soon as possible.
Local schools, shops, petrol stations, public transport and council services may be unavailable until power is restored.
In the meantime, advice is to:
- Go in
- Stay in
- Tune in
Smart phones, speakers and other digital services may not work.
However, the BBC has special arrangements. For updates, tune your battery or car radio to:
- BBC Radio 2 FM 88.1 MHz and 90.2 MHz
- BBC Radio 4 FM 92 – 95 FM, 103-105 FM
In a power outage lasting more than 36 hours, the quality of drinking water piped into your home may decline. Boil or use bottled water if possible. Store water in clean containers for later.
Be a good neighbour
Normal care and support services may be disrupted. Think about elderly or vulnerable neighbours and reach out to anyone you might know or think needs support.
Relieve pressure on the emergency services
A&E and GP health, fire and police services are likely to be under considerable pressure until power is restored. Avoid unnecessary calls to the emergency services and seek medical help only if absolutely necessary.
More information may be posted at local council buildings and on noticeboards.
If you need urgent help
In a prolonged National Power Outage, local community support hubs will be set up at various public buildings.
- UK Power Networks – maintaining the electricity networks across London, the South East and East of England
- GOV.UK – Preparing for emergencies – guidance to help people, businesses and communities identify and prepare for the hazards and threats that may disrupt their lives
- Essex Resilience Forum – Preparing for emergencies in Essex