Business comparison experts at Bionic have pulled together some emergency guidance for anyone affected by Storm Eunice in the UK.
What items should you keep in your home to protect yourself during an outage?
- Portable charger - ensure that essential electric items like your phone still have charge. You’ll need to be able to alert others that your power has gone off and that you may need assistance. You’ll want to call your electricity supplier first, and then check in with neighbours and family.
- Water bottles - Ensure that you keep some bottled water or purified water for emergencies. If your taps aren’t running clean water due to a tank failure, and you aren’t within a short distance of a shop, it’s important to have essentials to stay hydrated.
- Matches, lighters, candles and flashlights - These are an essential to ensure you are able to light your home and not have any accidents. If you are relying on a flashlight, ensure that you have the correct batteries to keep it working.
- Cash - You won’t be able to make any online transactions, especially if your phone has already died. Make sure that you have some cash to hand in case of emergencies.
- Install fibre-optic broadband - Fibre-optic cables are not as susceptible to some of the more severe weather conditions that the UK sees compared to cable internet, meaning it helps to minimise outages, especially in rural areas.
What steps should you take when the boiler stops working?
If your boiler has gone off, sometimes a simple reset is all that's needed - the boiler reset button should be somewhere on the front control panel. If you can't find it, check your boiler manual and follow the instructions. If this fails, try and turn it off and on again.
Alternatively, your boiler may also just be low on pressure, which happens over time. To fix this you need to find the filling loop - usually the silver flexi pipe with either one or two black taps on. Then start to increase the pressure by opening your taps fully until they lock at 45 degrees. You should start to see the pressure gauge increasing. When it goes green, you’ll need to close the taps again. To find out how to top up the pressure on your specific model of boiler, check out your user manual.
If your boiler has been giving low-pressure readings on an all too regular basis, is over 10 years old and has seen better days, you may want to consider getting a new boiler installed.
Never dismantle any part of your boiler and don’t do any work that involves touching the gas pipes. If a simple reset of the boiler or a top up of pressure doesn’t work, call a gas-dafe registered engineer to fix it.
How can you keep your home safe if you have to leave during a power outage?
Close all the windows and lock doors before you leave the house. Remember, no power means your burglar alarm may not work properly. If possible, use a portable music device like a bluetooth speaker to play music in your home while you’re gone. This will create the illusion that someone is still in and may deter burglars from entering. Do not allow candles to stay burning while you aren’t in as this poses a serious fire hazard.
You should also leave one or two light switches on. This way, if the power comes back on while you’re out of the house, a burglar will assume that someone is still in your house.
Switch off all electrical appliances at the switch. If the power suddenly comes back on, you may leave appliances on and unattended without knowing it, which may end up causing a fire.
Other household energy support
If you’re located in an area that has been badly affected by the storm, welfare centres have been set up to provide customers with hot food and respite. Energy network operators are also working with the British Red Cross to provide extra help and support, especially for vulnerable customers.
Customers who are vulnerable, elderly or may need extra assistance can sign up to the Priority Services Register via the Energy Networks Association. If registered, the association will contact vulnerable customers registered in affected areas to offer any assistance that is needed in the event of a power outage.
Compensation may be available for customers due to a power outage. Ofgem, the independent regulator for the UK’s energy networks, sets a service level that energy network operators must meet - this includes rules on how quickly operators must restore power and compensation payments to customers if the standards are not met.
To report a power cut, call 105. It's a free-of-charge call from any network.
To read latest Met Office updates on Storm Eunice, click here