07th July 2011


With the continuing severe weather across Northern Ireland the Consumer Council is reminding people of the practical steps they can take if their electricity goes off.

If your lights have not gone out yet, be prepared:
• Know where your household fuses and trip switches are;
• Test smoke alarms regularly and fit new batteries in torches and radios (for checking updates on news bulletins). You can also use your car radio;
• If you have a baby at home, make sure you have a supply of formula baby milk and prepare a flask of hot water to heat bottles and baby food; and

If you depend on electrical equipment that is vital to your health contact NIE to get on their critical care register on 08457 643 643.

If your electricity goes off:

  • Check your fuses and trip switches. Then check if your neighbours are without power;
  • Check that electrical appliances and machinery are switched off at the wall.
  • Leave one light on.  Leave your fridge/freezer switched on with the door shut to maintain a low temperature;
  • Depending upon how full the freezer is, produce can remain frozen for 24 hours or more. The more full the freezer, the longer the contents will remain frozen
  • As a source of light, it is preferable to use a torch, oil or gas lamps rather than candles when your electricity is off.  If you must use naked flames, please take extra care and make certain that they are put out before you go to bed.
  • Check on elderly neighbours in your area to make sure they are o.k
  • Avoid driving your car. If you must drive be extra careful as street and traffic lights in your local area may also be disrupted.

When your electricity comes back on:

  • Turn on and reset appliances when the electricity is restored (eg timers, water heater, burglar alarm).

If your power is off and you want more information, contact NIE’s Customer Helpline on 08457 643 643  - have your customer number and postcode ready.   In the event of widespread electricity loss, when you call the Helpline, you might speak to an operator or you might be connected to NIE’s automated service.  This service allows you to leave details of the premises affected by the power loss.  You will also receive a message with the latest information. 


  1. Consumer Council media contact: Irene Overend 028 9067 4816 or 07825 147496, [email protected]
  2. The Consumer Council is an independent consumer organisation, working to bring about change to benefit Northern Ireland’s consumers. The Council campaigns for high standards of service and protection and a fair deal for all. It also carries out research, gives advice and publishes reports and other publications. It deals with individual complaints about buses, trains, planes, ferries, electricity, natural gas, coal and water.
  3. For more information, visit our website at