Britons have been told to keep torches and gloves handy in case there are power outages, amid potential engineer shortages. A combination of staff sickness due to the coronavirus pandemic and the government’s guidance on non-essential workers to stay at home, mean energy teams are more stretched. However, the National Grid insisted that the network will be able to cope amid the pandemic and has comprehensive contingency plans in place, with industry leaders praising the county’s system as ‘one of the most reliable in the world’. One British electrical infrastructure firm has written to customers telling them to prepare for a power blackout, as the nation remains at home amid the lockdown.
UK Powers has written to its priority customers, which includes the elderly and families with young children, to offer advice on what to do if there is a power outage, reported The Daily Telegraph. The firm, which owns and maintains the electricity cables in the South East and East of England and London, gave advice to customers such as making sure they have ‘hat, gloves and a blanket to hand to keep warm’. Other advice included ‘keeping a torch handy’ and ‘reducing heat loss by closing doors on unused rooms’, and keeping a corded telephone in the house, where possible, as well as a power bank to charge mobile phones. The firm said it ‘regularly’ contacts customers on its Priority Services Register to make sure they ‘meet their needs’, adding ‘it’s never more important than in the current circumstances’. ‘This is to ensure we continue to provide them with the best possible support,’ added a UK Power Networks spokesperson. It comes as a total of 1,789 people died in the UK after testing positive for the virus (Picture: Metro.co.uk) ‘We are continuing to fix power cuts and maintain the electricity network to ensure its continued reliability. Across our networks, power supplies are 99.9 per cent reliable, and our dedicated teams are keeping the power flowing.’ It comes as non-essential infrastructure work was suspended in a bid to slow the spread of Covid-19, with energy companies offering alternative options so engineers can keep working on projects. A boss at SP Energy Networks, which covers parts of Scotland, the North West and North Wales, reportedly raised concerns over depleting work forces due to staff sickness, with increasing numbers of workers self-isolating. However, the Chief Executive of Energy Networks Association, which represents gas and electricity grid operators across the UK, insisted there are comprehensive back-up plans in place, with many workers ready to step in for sick colleagues as they are trained in different roles. CEO David Smith said: ‘It is supported by stringent contingency plans and a workforce of 36,000 people. Britons were advised to keep warm items to hand in case of a power cut (Picture: PA) ‘We’re keeping your energy flowing during the coronavirus pandemic and the network is operating exactly as it should.’ The National Grid re-iterated today that Britons should not worry about power cuts as it has contingency plans in place to last throughout the lockdown and further. An official statement read today: ‘We have well-developed procedures in place to manage the effects of a pandemic. ‘We have asked all our employees who do not need to be onsite to work from home where possible, in line with government guidance. ‘This measure has been introduced to limit the spread of the virus, protect the health and safety of all our people, and ensure those in operational roles can continue to do their jobs.’