Mark Everett: Prepare for possibility of blackout

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At times it is easy to take electricity for granted, and that’s because most homes and businesses have very reliable supplies.

During the colder months of winter we rely on our electricity supplies the most. It is also the time of year when there is an increased threat of severe weather, which can impact power supplies, so being prepared is important.

Electricity is essential for everyday things from boiling the kettle in the morning to make a cup of tea, to switching on the television after work to relax during the evening. We notice it most when we don’t have access to it.

For most people, it’s a rare occurrence to experience a power cut, but when it happens, it is up to our team of engineers to fix faults and get the power back on as soon as possible. Part of our job is also to help you stay safe and give you advice on what to do while the power is out.

It only takes a few minutes to check that you have everything you need at home in the event of a power cut, and importantly, the relevant numbers handy to report it. The quicker we are alerted to a power cut, the quicker we can respond. Here are some tips to help you prepare.

• Battery powered torch and radio – leave these somewhere you can access easily so that you can use the torch to check on the fuse box and make your way around the house safely. A battery powered radio can also help you to receive updates on the incident.

• Keep mobile charged – having your mobile charged means that you can give us a call on our helpline number. Alternatively, if your mobile is out of battery or signal, it’s worth having an analogue phone as this doesn’t run off the main electricity supply.

• Avoid leaving your fridge or freezer open – your fridge and freezer should remain cold for a considerable amount of time when power is off. However, it’s best to minimise the amount of times you open the door.

• Unplug powered equipment – make sure you unplug electrical appliances such as your TV and laptop. This also includes heaters, electric fires and cookers as you may forget about them when power is restored.

• Priority service register – if electricity is crucial to your health (for instance, if you use medical equipment at home) ask to be included on our priority service register. This way if you’re off power and need access to electricity as soon as possible, we can make sure you’re one of the first people that we see to.

• Keep the SP Energy Networks number close to hand – it’s best to keep this on the fridge or saved beside other important numbers such as your doctor’s surgery. This way if you need to contact us you have the number there and we can help you as soon as possible.

• Mark Everett is SP Energy Networks’ zone manager for Edinburgh, Lothians and the Borders

Connecting over 400k homes and businesses

SP Networks manages approximately 5000km of underground cables, 6500km of overhead power lines and 11,000 substations that connect over 400,000 homes and businesses from Edinburgh down to the Borders.

Its new emergency hotline numbers are 0330 1010 222 for mobiles and 0800 092 9290 for landlines.