Safety Tips for Seniors in Case of Winter Power Cuts

Those receiving home-care support are almost certainly eligible to apply to join their energy supplier’s Priority Services Register (PSR).

People of all ages are affected by extreme weather and power outages. However, many elderly people are particularly vulnerable. Many people have health conditions, such as disabilities, poor health, dementia, and other mental health issues, or circumstances, such as living alone, that make it difficult for them to prepare, protect themselves, and recover.

Although energy shortages are unlikely this winter, it is important to have a plan in place and consider how to manage during power outages caused by national power shortages, which would last about 3 hours.

Practical Concerns

There are a few things to consider when facing a power cut. Being cold and in the dark, and the associated risks, are two of the biggest concerns among respondents to an Age UK survey older people when asked about power cuts. Therefore, it is imperative that your loved one should have access to a torch in an easily accessible place.

It is also important to keep warm. Wearing thick clothes and multiple layers or blankets will ensure your body retains heat if the house is cold. Don’t forget to keep all windows and doors closed to trap in as much heat as possible. If you’re given an advance notice of a power cut, boil some water to keep in a thermos flask and top up a hot water bottle too.

Another idea is to keep a note of key contacts on a piece of paper and keep this somewhere accessible. Write a list of emergency contacts such as family, friends, local authorities and medical facilities in case you need to call them.

Priority Services Register

People receiving homecare in England, Scotland, and Wales are almost certainly eligible to apply to their energy supplier’s Priority Services Register (PSR). You can sign up to a PSR to receive extra help from your energy or water company. It’s free to sign up.

This will give you extra support and will allow the operator to notify you in advance of planned power cuts caused by national energy shortages and check they are okay if there are unplanned power cuts.

You can register in advance if you:

  • have reached state pension age
  • are disabled or have a long-term medical condition
  • are recovering from an injury
  • have a hearing or sight condition
  • have a mental health condition
  • are pregnant or have young children
  • have extra communication needs (such as if you don’t speak or read English well)
  • need to use medical equipment that requires a power supply
  • have poor or no sense of smell
  • would struggle to answer the door or get help in an emergency.
  • have another reason, for example, need short-term support after a stay in hospital.

Registrations can take a few days to process.

There is more information at: Get help from your supplier – Priority Services Register | Ofgem or see the relevant energy supplier’s website.

You can find your energy supplier and network operator at Find your energy supplier | Ofgem or Who’s my network operator? – Energy Networks Association (ENA).

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