Home safety Electrical safety

How to use electricity safely at home and what to do if there’s a power cut.

A chrome double plug socket with one black plug

Millions of people across the UK are at risk of serious electrical accidents from making simple mistakes at home.

Here’s some simple tips to help protect you and your family: 

  • Look at your plugs and power sockets to check they’re not damaged
  • Check visible cables, leads and light fittings are in good condition
  • Don’t overload your plug sockets
  • Don’t put things on top of the microwave
  • Don’t take mains-powered appliances into the bathroom, such as hairdryers or heaters
  • Don’t store combustible materials, like petrol or cleaning products, near your fuse box or electricity meter
  • Switch off electricals when you’re not using them
  • Turn off the power at the fuse box before you start any DIY near electrical wiring or sockets

You can find more advice on the Electrical Safety First website.

What to do in a power cut

If you have a power cut at home, call 105 to report it to your electricity network operator. They will be able to give you help and advice on what to do while you’re without power. You can call 105 for free from most landlines and mobiles. 

If you’re a British Sign Language (BSL), you can contact your local network operator directly to report a power cut. 

While the power is off, you should:

  • switch off all electrical appliances that shouldn’t be left unattended, ready for when the power comes back on
  • leave a light on, so you know when the power is back on
  • wrap up warm
  • check your neighbours are OK, particularly if they’re vulnerable and might struggle without power

If you, or someone you know, might need extra help in a power cut or gas emergency, you can register for your energy supplier’s Priority Services Register. The free service provides priority support to those who need it most in an emergency. You can sign up for the PSR by contacting your energy supplier or electricity network operator.