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What your business should do during a power cut

A power cut for any workplace can have a huge impact on productivity, profits and safety. However, there are ways to prepare and minimise the impact on your business when the power goes out. To help your business protect itself from future outages, we take a look at what your business should do during a power cut.

How to check if there has been a power cut

Before taking any action during a suspected power cut, you should determine whether it is just your premises which is without power or if other nearby buildings are also experiencing a cut. If your neighbours have power and streetlights are on, it is likely that it is just your building which is impacted. If there is no power in the nearby buildings, it is likely to be an issue which is affecting the whole area.

If you determine that it is just your business which is without power, you should check your trip switches. For example, if the lights are working but equipment has no power, there could be a trip switch issue. The fuse box will contain all of the fuses for the circuits within your building, loss of power to a particular circuit will trip one of these switches. If a switch is off, move it to the ‘on’ position and check whether the power supply is restored. If not, it is unlikely that the trip switches are the cause of the power cut.

What should we do during a power outage?

If you are unable to restore power via the trip switches, you should switch off any electrical items which are plugged in at the wall, such as computers, printers and appliances. As the power begins to be restored there can be electrical surges, which can be dangerous if you have electrical items plugged in. Once the power is restored fully, it will be safe to plug everything back in, however you should check for any signs of damage at plug points.

Depending on the time of day, you may need to light candles or use torches to provide light during the power cut. If your business uses gas-powered generators, these should only be used outdoors and must be positioned at least 20 feet from any windows in the building. Similarly, you should not use any gas-powered equipment indoors during a power cut, such as a gas stove or cooker.

Who do I contact about a power cut?

Once your premises are safe, you should contact the network operator for your area. This is the company which is responsible for distributing electricity in your area and they can be reached by calling 105 from your landline or mobile, alternatively you can visit the Energy Networks website to find your local network operator. The company may be able to provide you with information about the cause of the outage and how long it is expected to last. If the power cut lasts for a long time and has a significant impact on your business, you may be able to claim compensation from your network distributer. 

If your business loses its supply for more than 12 hours during normal weather conditions, you will be able to claim £150. Then, for each further 12-hour period, you can claim an additional £35, up to a total of £300.

If your power is lost during a category 1 storm, you will need to be without power for at least 24 hours before a claim can be made, with category 2 storm claims set at 48 hours without power.

How to prepare for a power cut

Power cuts will always be inconvenient, however there are ways to reduce the impact they have on your business by ensuring you are well prepared. Start by making a power cut kit, which includes torches, power packs, batteries, first aid items and bottled water. This should be incorporated into an emergency response plan, which all employees have access to and know how to use.

It is also advisable to protect your valuable electrical items using power-surge plugs, which provide protection during temporary power surges. If there is any equipment which relies heavily on power, you should invest in a backup power source which kicks in during a power cut. In addition, any sensitive or important documents should be regularly backed up to the cloud or stored on a separate hard drive.

We hope this information helps your business to prepare for potential power cuts, whilst also minimising the impact on your business should an outage occur. Here at BusinessComparison, we are always looking for ways to help your business operate more efficiently, so to find out more about how we can help with your business energy, please contact our team today.

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