Skip to content

Power Cut? Call 105

January 16, 2018

By Paul Homewood


h/t Joe Public



It may be a pure coincidence, but the electricity network operators (DNOs and INDOs) have joined together to set up a new telephone number, 105, for people to ring when there is a power cut.




Maybe they’re expecting more in future?

  1. Bitter@twisted permalink
    January 16, 2018 5:13 pm

    Probably kept P.O. on hold for hours at £1.50/minute.
    Just to add insult to injury.

  2. Ross King permalink
    January 16, 2018 5:17 pm

    When there is a power..cut here (B.C.) the land..line goes down (it comes via ISPS/cable) and the cell..towers ditto.
    Carrier Pigeons, anyone?
    Truly we are regressing to the Dark Ages, thanks to the vicissitudes of on (occasional) Renewable Energy.

    • Athelstan permalink
      January 16, 2018 6:04 pm

      I immediately thought – in the event of a power cut…………..would the phones work – landline or cell?

      “When there is a power..cut here (B.C.) the land..line goes down (it comes via ISPS/cable) and the cell..towers ditto.”

      I’m no telecom’s engineer but is there any reason to think that the situation here in Britain is any different and I would hazard – not.

      And btw Ross, if you get a power cut – I’ll send you a pigeon………….


      • catweazle666 permalink
        January 16, 2018 6:51 pm

        Up here in the Yorkshire Dales the telephones work when there is a power cut – always supposing you have a real wire-connected telephone and not a mobile on a base station.

        Then there are always portable phones.

        Having said that, we have a decent UPS that keeps the main computer, the modem/router and the telephone base station alive for an hour or so too.

      • January 16, 2018 7:08 pm

        I switch to an old fashioned battery powered phone wjhen we have a power cut. We already have a phone number to call when there is a power cut.

      • Les Johnson permalink
        January 16, 2018 7:26 pm

        My landline phone is ISPS as well. I have the router and WiFi hooked up to a UPS (battery) which kicks in when the power goes out. The phone system also has a battery. The UPS also acts as a surge protector. The cable company has back up power at the source.

      • Athelstan permalink
        January 16, 2018 11:35 pm

        Thank you all, for the info gentlemen, really good stuff and back up UPS is a must I think.

      • Rowland H permalink
        January 17, 2018 5:33 pm

        Simply have a basic plug-in handset available. That will normally work in the UK.

  3. Chris permalink
    January 16, 2018 6:04 pm

    We had a local power cut the other night so I ‘phoned 105 about 3am. The staff member was not well trained (lack of practice ?) and omitted to notice that the cut had already been reported by a neighbour. But before realising that she tried to cajole me into going into my garage to check the fuses.

    So be sure that the staff members check their screen(s) before they start reading from the prepared script.

  4. Joe Public permalink
    January 16, 2018 6:32 pm

    We can rest easy in the knowledge that should there be a power cut affecting 105’s call centre, it’ll probably be a diesel-fuelled stand-by gen-set that’ll kick-in to ensure staff continue to enjoy the comfort & convenience of having dependable electricity.

  5. Dave Ward permalink
    January 16, 2018 9:21 pm

    Being a former telephone engineer I’ve naturally kept some POT’s (Plain Old Telephones) around the place, and have an “old school” copper pair phone line. This also provides the broadband, and of course both are powered from the exchange, which has a back-up diesel genset. So (subject to Openreach and the other network operators bothering to test their genny’s from time to time), I should have communication during prolonged power outages – I have batteries to keep the router going. However, I suspect a lot of people with cordless landline phones have NO idea that they won’t work without mains to the base station. Some of the early ones had a compartment to take AA cells for mains fail, but I haven’t seen any like that for ages. And I don’t give much hope for those with “Fibre To The Cabinet” or cable broadband, as both rely on street corner equipment which only have battery back-up. Neither they, nor the vast majority of mobile networks are going to survive for long if we ever have a major grid outage.

    • Athelstan permalink
      January 16, 2018 11:40 pm

      Hmm, not really a surprise but do these bods ever consider the possibility (major outage) and if they don’t – why the hell not?

      • Dave Ward permalink
        January 17, 2018 11:34 am

        “But do these bods ever consider the possibility (major outage)”

        They probably don’t, on the basis that our grid has been (until quite recently) extremely reliable. Power cuts were/are invariably due to faults (cable damage, etc), and the risk of major or complete failure due to erratic renewable generation, simply wasn’t there. You only have to look at the amount of spare capacity available 10 or 20 years ago compared to what we have now.

        When I started my career in the 70’s all larger exchanges had back up generators, and full time staff who tested them regularly. Smaller rural exchanges had battery banks capable of running the equipment for a minimum of 24 hrs – this was normally enough to bridge the gap before power was restored. But, just in case, there was a van towable trailer with a set of charged lead/acid batteries plus connecting leads kept at all engineering depots, plus various mobile generators. Back then there were NO mobile phone masts dotted around the countryside, too small to warrant a genset, as is now the case.

  6. Gamecock permalink
    January 16, 2018 9:38 pm

    To hear a duck, press 6.

  7. Green Sand permalink
    January 16, 2018 11:38 pm

    Will 105 work for these guys?

    ‘Thermometer in world’s coldest village breaks as temperatures plunge to -62C ‘

    “Meanwhile the Siberian Times reports that some locals had readings as low as -67C – in touching distance of the record -67.7C, which was logged in the village in February 1933.

    That temperature was the lowest ever recorded outside the Antarctic and cemented the village, in the Yakutia region, the coldest permanently-inhabited place on earth…

    • Jack Broughton permalink
      January 17, 2018 2:04 pm

      bloody global warming!

  8. It doesn't add up... permalink
    January 17, 2018 9:42 pm

    I’ve had cause to use the 105 service several times in the past few months – mainly the consequence of falling trees downing power lines in the snow and winds. I’ve found that when the power cut is local, I may be able to use a mobile to ring them (or to use the local power cut website to register our local outage). Nevertheless, a replacement handset that works off the landline voltage from the exchange on POTS is an essential piece of armoury. Exchanges are supposed to be able to keep operating for at least 48 hours in the event of a power outage – I am not sure what is expected of telephone cell towers. So far, our longest outage was 24 hours during the heavy snows that made roads impassible – long enough to be thinking about the lack of water supply (as in hurricanes – if it’s yellow, let it mellow, if it’s brown, flush it down), and to be grateful for a good supply of bottled water, candles, a well stocked larder and means of heat not dependent on electricity.

    I’ve found the 105 service to be fairly good for the most part, especially once you get past the bit where they check you haven’t just blown your own fuses – I just tell them I see no light in nearby properties either. It pays to use it promptly and encourage others to do likewise, because it helps to localise the affected network, and therefore have them send out the engineers to the more likely spots for trouble and restore power sooner. By the end of the call they can usually tell you how many properties are affected, and provide an estimate of how long the outage will last.

    Of course, when the outages only affect hundreds of properties, it is much easier for them to deal personally with callers. When the numbers escalate, you get switched immediately to a message listing affected areas with estimated restoration time before being given a chance to report an area not mentioned.

    Overall, I think it an improvement in the handling of outages information compared with the complete lack of information a few years back when a major grid substation transformer blew, affecting several hundred thousands (if not millions) across much of the South East.

    Leaving aside these major outages, I have noticed a significant frequency of short cuts that last enough seconds to upset anything not connected to a UPS – the kitchen is full of blinking lights on the microwave, coffee machine, etc. These are I suspect the consequence of poorly timed switching to accommodate large changes in supply that may be associated with renewables or a large power station tripping for whatever reason, but for now are probably mostly driven by switching on the interconnectors to France, Ireland and the Netherlands. Of course, these are meant to be our backup – but we spent much of the early winter providing backup to France. I don’t think there is enough attention to these abrupt cuts. Worse awaits once we start losing proper dispatchable backup.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: