In the event of a utilities failure, local authorities are responsible for working with the distribution company who brings the supply to your door and health service providers to identify vulnerable people who are directly affected. You can choose to go on a list of people for electricity and water who get extra help if there is a power or water supply cut, this is called a Priority Services Register.
It is useful to know your regional distribution company, so it is worth checking, as Surrey has more than one distribution region for some utilities.
Priority Services Registers
From keeping water running for drinking and washing hands, to charging medical equipment or mobility scooter's, to staying warm, it's vital to keep utilities going in the event of a problem with your gas, electricity or water supply.
The Priority Services Register can help you do this. If you or someone you know is vulnerable, requires additional assistance or has additional communication needs then you can sign up to the Priority Services Register by contacting your utility providers. It is free and can help you or a loved one to stay safe, warm and independent in their own home.
As well as help in an emergency, there are other benefits to being on a Priority Services Register including advance notice of planned power cuts or interruptions to water supply, help with accessing prepayment meters, receiving bills in an alternative format and more.
People who may qualify for this service:
- are of pensionable age
- are disabled or chronically sick
- have a long-term medical condition
- have a hearing or visual impairment or additional communication needs
- are in a vulnerable situation
- have young children under the age of five years old
To find out more about priority registers, you'll need to contact each of your utility providers
Electricity failure and safety
Find who is your operator by calling 105 or visiting the Power Cut website.
In Surrey, electricity is distributed by one of two companies dependant on location.
- Extreme west and south of Surrey:
- Remainder of Surrey:
Check your company's website for real time information on power supply, areas covered, and to sign up to the priority service register if you have a young baby, health care requirements or sensory or mobility limitations, or are an older person.
You can also sign up friends, relatives and neighbours who are older, have new babies or a permanent or temporary illness or sensory or physical limitation.
What to do during a power cut:
- If the power goes off you can report this by calling 105 or visiting the Power Cut website.
- If you spot damaged or dangerous electrical equipment, including during or after a power cut, report the problem, but call 999 in an emergency.
- Check with your neighbours during a utility failure – they may not be so well prepared and might appreciate some help.
- It's useful to have an 'old fashioned' analogue (non electric) phone as it will still work if the power goes off.
- Torch batteries expire – check them if you rarely use your torch.
- Purpose-made glow sticks are a safer alternative to candles.
Gas failure and safety
If you are in an emergency or smell gas call the National Gas Emergency Number on 0800 111 999.
SGN is the gas distributor for Surrey.
What to do in a gas emergency
- Open doors and windows
- Turn off the gas supply at the meter. Unless the meter is in the cellar.
- Avoid the use of any naked flame.
- Don't turn off or on any power or light switches.
- Don't enter the cellar if the smell is coming from there.
Find out your water company in Surrey.
What to do during a loss of water
In the event of loss of water supply, you're advised to telephone the number on your water bill or check on your water company's website. Your water company will have an Extra Care register, which you can sign up to if you're eligible.
What water companies must do:
- Warn and inform their customers of problems that may affect their supply.
- Share their vulnerable persons register with local authorities in times of crisis.
- Provide alternative supplies.
Alternative supplies include:
- Bottled water, which is held for customers during planned interruptions and incident response.
- Arrangements to make bottled water available for customers to collect from stockpiles and for doorstep delivery.
- Static tanks and mobile bowsers for major incidents.
- Arrangements for emergency tankers to fill static tanks and bowsers.
- Other options including standpipes, over-ground mains and emergency drought orders.