Storm tonight could mean power cuts: action you can take

July 18, 2014 3:42 PM

Electric light bulbYou can help keep safe if there is a power cut following the storms due tonight. This briefing has just been sent to local Councillors by UK Power Networks, who look after the National Grid.

One thing you might not think about: cordless household phones may not work without electricity. You should have at least one phone in the house that is wired and plugged in.


Today is a normal day across the networks with no widespread power cuts due to the weather. However, UK Power Networks has been notified of a severe weather warning from the Met Office with heavy rain, thunderstorms and lightning forecast to hit the East of England, South East of England and the London area this Friday night and over Saturday 19th July.

Our paramount focus will be on restoring electricity to customers as quickly and safely as possible and we are currently putting in place a range of measures to be better prepared to respond to any potential impact on our networks and customers.


We are preparing to deal with the storm’s potential impact on our network and customers.

Below are some of the measures we are taking:

  • We are arranging additional staff to cover call centre roles. Additional people have been allocated to take and make phone calls and provisions are in place for even more engineers and resources to be available on short notice in case of need.
  • We invest in a partnership arrangement with the British Red Cross and can activate their volunteers to support vulnerable customers if power is affected.
  • The emergency teams in the local authorities have access to the web link that enables them to see fault levels.

Our electricity network is built to be resilient but extreme weather can affect overhead power lines when tree branches and windborne debris damage them. In the event of a power cuts as result of the localised gusts, lightning and heavy rain, UK Power Network’s priority will be to restore supplies as quickly as is safely possible and keep people informed as best we can during a constantly changing situation. We will work from job to job targeting big jobs first where many customers are affected.

In communication with customers, we urge the public to stay well clear from power lines and anyone spotting a damaged power line needs to report it to UK Power Networks.

To report any power cuts and damaged lines on free helplines, please refer customers to the following numbers: In the South East call 0800 783 8866, in the East of England call 0800 783 8838 and in London call 0800 028 0247. You can also see and follow the company on twitter for updates @ukpowernetworks .

Preparing for a power cut

Below is some advice on how our customers can prepare for a power cut:

  • Keep our freephone number handy
  • See the website for some useful videos offering you advice during a power cut.
  • Keep spare batteries for radios and torches – local radio stations often broadcast helpful information
  • Keep an old-fashioned corded phone which you can plug in, as cordless phones won’t work in the event of a power cut
  • Take care if using candles, tea-lights and other naked flames
  • Keep fridges and freezers closed, with a blanket over as they will stay cold for many hours
  • Switch off all your electrical equipment, except one light which will let you know when the power comes back on
  • Remember the street lights may also be off so take care if you go out
  • Exercise caution in localised flooded areas -specific advice is available on the Environment Agency website.
  • Look out for elderly neighbours and other vulnerable people

We would be grateful if you could forward this email to your contacts, including in district and parish councils.

Kind regards,

Stakeholder Engagement Team

UK Power Networks

Newington House

237 Southwark Bridge Road

London SE1 6NP

How healthy are we?

The Public Health Observatory – part of Public Health England – publishes Health Profiles for every council area in England.You can find them here: click on E and select East Cambridgeshire.

The Health Profile for our district shows that generally we’re in average or better than average health compared to the rest of the country, except in two aspects: the numbers of people killed or seriously injured on our roads, and the incidence of malignant melanoma (skin cancer).


Planning dissent?

It appears that all may not be rosy in the garden at East Cambridgeshire District Council’s planning committee.

Things have come to such a pass that a proposal has been tabled by the leader of the council, no less, to this evening’s Full Council meeting, to set up an arbitration mechanism to resolve disputes between the council’s professional planning officers and the chairman of the planning committee.

The proposal, which applies solely to the planning committee, is that if the planning officers want to amend a draft planning committee agenda and the committee chairman disagrees, the matter is referred to the Chief Executive of the council for him to resolve in conjunction with the leader of the council.

What on earth has been going on behind the scenes that matters should have come to such a state?

Two exhibitions

Today saw a small exhibition at the council offices in Ely about community land trusts as a way of providing affordable housing locally.  There are already a number in operation in East Cambridgeshire, not least in Soham and an emerging community land trust development in Stretham, but none yet in Sutton.

And after a meeting of the council’s Regulatory & Support Services Committee – more of which later – I also managed to attend the exhibition at Ely College of developer Turnstone’s proposals for a multiplex cinema, swimming pool and fast food restaurants on the A10 at Downham Road, Ely, next to the present sports grounds.

Noise nuisance update

I’ve previously reported complaints from local residents about increased noise levels, apparently from the straw burning power station.  Since then, it has been suggested that the noise complained about might in fact be from Anson’s coolers rather than the power station.

The council’s environmental health officer has been in touch with the power station and with the Environment Agency who regulate it with regard to noise.  The council has also contacted Anson’s Packaging to request that they check their mechanical plant and take any necessary action to ensure it is not causing excessive noise.

Residents continuing to experience noise which they believe comes from the power station can contact the power station directly on 01353 775600, or failing that, the Environment Agency’s incident hotline on 0800 80 70 60 (state that the potential noise source is an Environment Agency permitted installation in the Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire area).

Meanwhile, if the noise is from Anson’s, let’s hope a check of their cooling systems resolves the problem.

Meet Your Councillor 1

My first ‘Meet Your Councillor’ surgery event in the Community Room this evening attracted seven residents.  There were a number of issues people wanted to talk about, and which I’ll be taking forward as appropriate, including

  • arrangements for disposing of domestic food waste
  • road safety for horse riders in the village
  • speed limits at The Gault
  • progress on the replacement of the build-out, and of the bridging of the ditch between St Andrew’s Close and the school
  • overgrown shrubbery overhanging pavements and forcing mums with buggies into the road

There was praise for the first highway officer drop-in event last Thursday, and a hope that this will be a regular event into the future.

The next Meet Your Councillor surgery event is on Thursday 24 July, again from 6:30 to 7:30pm in the Community Room at the school.


Changes to bus timetables

A number of bus timetables will undergo changes from next month, including the 9, 11, 12, and X5 (Stagecoach) and the X1 (First).

The 9 will now see the

  • 16:15 Chatteris – Cambridge
  • 17:16 Ely – Cambridge
  • 17:10 Littleport – Ely
  • 17:15 Chatteris – Cambridge
  • 18:15 Chatteris – Ely

journeys running 15 minutes later.

Full details and timetables are available from Stagecoach on 01223 433250 or

Power station noise

Several residents of Sutton say they’ve noticed an increase in the noise from the straw-burning power station.  I’ve taken this up with the council’s environmental health team, who have asked me to forward details of anyone who would be willing to speak to them about this. If you’re experiencing increased noise levels, and would be happy to be contacted by an environmental health officer, email your contact details to me and I’ll pass them on.