What happens if there are nationwide planned emergency power cuts.
What are Rota Load Disconnections (RLD)?
You may have seen news reports that Britain could be facing planned emergency power cuts this winter (also called ‘blackouts’) to help manage the national electricity supply. These will only occur when the government and National Grid agree that there is no other alternative and will be phased across the country so different locations are without power at different times.
The nationwide electricity network is split into areas or ‘blocks’, each of which is identified by a single letter from A to V. To spread the load, a rota system has been created by the National Grid and the government which would mean areas are disconnected for up to 3 hours at a time. These are also known as Rota Load Disconnections (RLD).
How will I know if I'm affected?
There'll be widespread news coverage if a disconnection event is announced, and this will include details of which areas are affected, when and for how long. Each area will be referred to by its block letter, which shows as your postcode area alpha identifier on bills, but it can also be called a Rota Load Disconnection (RLD) letter.
The easiest way to find your block letter is to enter your postcode into our block letter finder. If you move house, even to the next street, it's worth checking your block letter hasn't changed.Find your block letter
You'll also find it on page 2 or 3 of your latest bill or invoice, underneath your supply address.
You can also find your network operator and block letter from the 105 service:
The plan for disconnections, which shows when your power will be off, will be available once an emergency power cut has been announced and will show as 'offline' until then. We’ll also link to this from our homepage so you can easily find the information you need.Check the disconnection plan
Get ready and be prepared.
Your electricity should be off for no more than 3 hours at a time, but this could vary depending on the severity of the situation. This may be at peak times, like early evening, so it's best to think in advance about how you would manage your situation. The government will give up to 48 hours notice so you have time to get ready.
Here are our suggestions for what to do in the run up to an emergency power cut:
Check that your neighbours (particularly the elderly and vulnerable) know what’s happening and when.
Keep a torch handy, with spare batteries - it’s much safer than candles.
Charge devices like phones, laptops and batteries.
Keep blankets and warm clothing ready.
Fill a flask with boiled water for hot drinks and a hot water bottle to help you stay warm.
Leave a light on so you know when power is back on.
Remember - if you have a gas cooker, the electronic ignition won't work during a power cut so have a lighter available, just in case you need it.
What to do when the power is off.
During the power cut, try to keep room doors shut as much as possible to keep the heat in and the draughts out. And the same goes for your fridge and freezer too, to help them stay cold.
There’s no need to call us - the power disconnections are controlled by the National Grid.
Extra help from the Priority Services Register (PSR).
We’re here to help if you or someone in your household might need extra support during a power cut, for example you rely on medical equipment which needs to be plugged in. It’s important to sign up to our Priority Services Register and we can let your electricity network operator know.
Being on the Priority Services Register doesn't mean your electricity supply will be restored more quickly or guarantee a power supply if there is a power cut but your network operator can help you to be better prepared for if your electricity supply is interrupted.
Even if you’re already registered, it’s worth checking that the information you’ve told us is up to date. You’ll find this in the profile section of your online account dashboard or send an email to email@example.com to update us if your circumstances have changed.
There are other ways we can help if you need extra support because of medical or personal reasons eg disability, long term illness or if a member of your household is elderly or below school age, so please take a look at how the Priority Services Register could help you.