Bus to offer help in power outage

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UK Power Networks is trialling the use of a community support team to provide on-the-ground assistance for when an area is without power for an extended period of time.

The company, which delivers electricity to more than two million customers across the South East through a vast infrastructure of overhead power lines, underground cables and substations, is piloting the use of a specially-equipped vehicle to help customers who need extra care during power cuts.

The vehicle, which will be staffed by the community support team when in use and is currently being trialled across the south east, can provide hot water and hot drinks, with flasks to deliver to customers on the company’s free Priority Services Register (PSR), hot food packs and gluten-free food for those with coeliac disease, wi-fi access codes provided by the UK Power Networks team on site, microwaves to heat food, bottles etc and a generator from which an extension lead can be run to a customer’s property for them to use a piece of equipment, for example to help somebody use medical equipment.

Sam Fuller, head of customer services at UK Power Networks, said: “We’re always looking for new ideas to help when there’s a complex problem with the power supply which is likely to take our engineers some time to resolve, so we held discussions with our customer working groups about a support vehicle being a possible solution.

“We’ve used the vehicle on a number of occasions already, for instance when a power cut was affecting a rural area where a number of our (PSR) customers live, including a care home.”

The vehicle is used where the power problem may take longer than five hours to fix, many PSR customers are affected by a power cut and the time of power supplies being restored is unknown, a power cut has happened before and a full repair make take time to complete or when generators are being arranged but it will take more than four hours to transport and connect them.

To sign up to UK Power Networks’ free Priority Services Register, visit www.ukpowernetworks.co.uk/priority, ring 0800 169 9970, or email psr@ukpowernetworks.co.uk.

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