Power cuts

How do I prepare for a power cut?

  • Keep a torch handy. Avoid candles and paraffin heaters.
  • Keep a wind-up/battery/solar radio ready so you can listen to local radio updates.
  • Try and keep a non-electric phone in your home, as many modern phones will not work during a power cut.
  • Protect sensitive electrical equipment such as computers with a surge protector plug.

If you have medical care at home, make sure that any equipment has battery backup.

If you require extra care or support during a power cut, then sign on to the Priority Services Register. They'll offer you additional help and support to make sure that you're OK.

Who can sign up for the Priority Services Register?

You can sign up if you:

  • have reached your state pension age
  • are disabled or have a long-term medical condition
  • are recovering from an injury
  • have a hearing or sight condition
  • have a mental health condition
  • are pregnant or have young children
  • have extra communication needs (such as if you don’t speak or read English well)
  • need to use medical equipment that requires a power supply
  • have little or no sense of smell
  • would struggle to answer the door or get help in an emergency.

If you want to be added to the Priority Services Register, you'll need to contact your energy supplier - you can find their contact details on your energy bill. You can also ask the supplier to pass your details on to your network operator, especially if you're dependent on your supply for medical reasons.

What do I do if I have no power?

Check your meter

If there's no power, the first thing to do is to check your meter. If there are no credits on the meter, you'll have to buy more in order for the power to turn back on. If you do have credit then check if your neighbours have electricity. If they don't, it's likely that the fault is on the electricity network.

Fuse or trip switch

If everyone else has power and your home doesn't, it's likely to be an issue with your own fuses or trip switches. These are located in the consumer unit/fuse box.

Residual Current Detector (RCD)

Most of our homes now have circuit breakers and a Residual Current Detector (RCD). An RCD is a safety device that switches off electricity automatically if there's a fault. If a fault is detected, the RCD turns off the supply to all the circuits it protects - usually the sockets, water heating, shower, cooker, and the overhead lights.

A faulty appliance

An RCD could switch off because of a faulty appliance. To identify any faulty appliances, unplug all your electrical appliances. Are you able to flick the switch on the RCD back to its original position? If so, then plug the appliances back in one at a time. Flick the RCD switch as you plug each appliance back in to identify the faulty one.

If an item is faulty, the power will go off again when this item is switched on. Switch the item off, reset the circuit breaker again, leave the item off, then switch on any items you have not already tried to check they're not faulty.

If the fault is caused by one of your own items, such as the kettle, cooker or TV, you'll have to get this repaired by a qualified electrician. If the fault is a sealed light or the water heater, leave the item switched off and report the fault to us so we can fix it. Do not use the faulty item again until it's been repaired. It's safe to use other items.

If you report an electrical fault and our contractor finds the cause is one of your appliances and you have not checked everything before calling us, you will be recharged the costs of the contractor's time.

How do I report a power cut?

If you've checked everything above and you still can't find the fault, you need to report the power cut to the electricity distributor. (This will not be the company that you pay your bill to.)

To find out what to do in the event of a power cut, visit www.powercut105.com or dial 105. It's free of charge, and they'll put you in touch with your local operator who can give you help and advice.

There are a number of operators for the electricity supply in the Wycombe area. You can find yours on the energy networks website. SSE, one the largest operators in the Wycombe area, can be contacted on their emergency line at 08000 727 282. You can also follow their live updates on Twitter/X - @ssencommunity.

Safety alarms

Most alarm systems will have a battery backup to ensure they store entry codes and other system information in the event of a power interruption. If you have any concerns regarding your alarm system, it's best to contact the installer.