New UK emergency and power loss number 105
Ofcom is looking to implement a national number for people to report power loss and other electrical emergency’s. The suggested number is 105.
The request for a three digit number has been prompted by the severe storm events over the winter 2013/14 period and the electricity supply disruptions they caused. The storm events highlighted that the general public is confused about who and what number to call to report an electricity network supply issue and obtain important information or advice.
Currently each regional Electricity Network Operator has its own ‘emergency and power loss’ service for its network and uses its own 0800 freephone number. The national power cut and electricity network safety service, using a single memorable number for contact across Great Britain, is intended to benefit consumers by making it clearer how to make contact in times of need and improving the overall consumer experience.
Electricity is supplied regionally over 14 large electricity distribution networks operated by six DNO companies. Within these large networks, there are a multitude of much smaller independent electricity distribution networks currently operated by three Independent Distribution Network Operator (IDNO) companies. Collectively, these networks deliver electricity to in excess of 29 million homes and businesses across England, Scotland and Wales.
The geographic areas of these networks do not align with any common area defining boundaries such as county, town or postcode making it difficult for consumers to determine their relevant Electricity Network Operator. In addition, consumers that do happen to know who to call are very unlikely to know the number and would instead have to look it up. This can be very challenging in many circumstances, as internet search devices might not be powered and darkness might preclude finding and using phone directories or electricity bills (which carry the contact number), for example.