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Loss of essential services

Utilities are an integral part of everyday life which households, businesses and organisations rely upon. Although the Thames Valley infrastructure to supply gas, electricity, water and telecommunication is well planned and robust, these essential services can be lost as a result of severe weather, contamination, deliberate attack or industrial action.

How could this affect me?

Disruption to these essential services can happen at any time and could cause a loss of electricity, fuel, gas, sewerage and water. It can result in financial failures, including loss of banking systems such as cash machines and online banking. There could also be disruption to telecommunications, including loss of mobile and broadband services.

Get prepared
  • How to be prepared
    • If you are a vulnerable customer in need of extra support, you can register with your provider as a priority customer
    • Loss of supply can happen without warning, so it is always useful to have an emergency pack containing items such as torches, bottled water and wind up/battery radio
    • Many landline telephones with mobile handsets require electricity and will not work in a power cut
    • Keep a physical copy of key phone numbers and contact details
  • What to do during loss of gas and electric
    • Speak to a neighbour who may let you use their mobile in case of emergency
    • If the power goes off, call Freephone 105 to report it or get information
    • If you smell gas and/or think there could be a leak, you should immediately phone the National Gas Emergency Service number on 0800 111 999 at any time of the day or night
    • If there is a power cut, take care if you use candles – place them on a proper holder and do not leave them in a draught or in front of curtains
    • Visit elderly neighbours or family to make sure they are coping – encourage them to stay warm with extra layers and blankets
    • Do not open fridge and freezers for any longer than necessary. They can stay cold for many hours if left closed
    • Be careful using generators, as they can produce carbon monoxide
  • What to do during loss of water or sewage services
    • If you identify an issue with the water supply, alert your water company
    • Drink bottled water
    • Check your water supplier’s website for information and updates
    • Follow the instructions of the emergency services and your local authority
    • Make yourself known to your local authority if you are vulnerable or have additional needs for water
  • What to do after a loss of essential services
    • You may need to reprogramme many of your electronic devices
    • Follow any advice from your service providers and utilities companies or local council