Last week I happened to be reading online about the Scottish Court case about Donald Trump and his loud objections to wind-turbines sited offshore at Aberdeen Bay. As though to remind me what wind turbines actually do, quite apart from allegedly spoiling Trump’s view of a flat seascape filled with vessels that service the oil rigs, my house was plunged into darkness by a daytime power cut.
I checked my mains switchboard for any tripped switches, and finding no reason, I telephoned the Scottish and Southern Energy Network. A very calm, and jolly individual on the telephone informed me that a major fault had just been reported and was affecting about 1500 houses in my area, and it might take a couple of hours to get the power back. He assured me that I should never assume that the Power Company know about a Power Cut, so I did the right thing contacting them.
I casually mentioned to this reassuring individual, that I was an older disabled person, and I was glad to hear that the power would be restored soon. About five minutes later, another Call-Centre Operator from my billing company (formerly Hydro and now Scottish Power) called and straight away asked if I was alright and if the outage was causing me any difficulty. I was informed that the person I initially contacted had taken it on themselves to inform my supplier about my status.
I was grateful for this interest, but as I pointed out to the caller what could he have done anyway? It was then that I learned of the Priority Register. Do not assume that the Power Company knows about your vulnerability or health issues that exist your household.
How many folk nowadays use a phone that plugs into the mains? Or indeed have gone completely wireless and have a mobile only? All require electricity and in power –cut are either useless or have a limited charge. I was informed that the old analogue style phone that simply plugs into the telephone wall –socket is best, as it is powered by BT. The Electricity Company recommend that you keep even one analogue phone handy to plug in in case of emergency.
Our weather is causing evermore powerful events, like that which caused the Isle of Arran to be disconnected from the grid for two weeks, following a severe snowstorm last year/ When we hear that so many hundreds or thousands of people are without power following severe weather, it is comforting to know that the engineers will toil ceaselessly to restore the power, because they know that they have vulnerable customers who need to be on the grid as quick as possible.
Vulnerable customers have to make sure they know they have battery back-up for all medil equipment, make sure mobiles are charged at all times, the car has half a tank of petrol at least, they have torches and other battery powered illumination, and that someone knows about them . The following list is not exhaustive but is given as a guide by Scottish Power for those customers who should put themselves on the Priority Register.
- Has a disability.
- Has a chronic illness.
- Is over 60.
- Is blind or partially sighted.
- Is deaf or hard of hearing
All Suppliers of power have to tell those on the Priority Register of planned maintenance that will cause a power cut. Your supply may be cut off due to emergency conditions such as severe weather, so please ask your hospital or medical practice about a battery back – up, or other arrangements, to help you cope with an unexpected loss of power. If you have gas in the house, PSR also provides a free annual gas safety check to those vulnerable customers who qualify.
Find more information here at Citizens Advice.