Critical infrastructure describes all of the different services we rely on as part of our modern society and are essential to how we run our daily lives.  The UK’s critical infrastructure is made up of services such as electricity, water, gas, oil, fuel, transport, communications, food, health and financial services.

In the Gwent area we are no less reliant on these critical services and even localised losses can have a significant impact on our residents.

Possible Consequences:

  • Disruption to essential services, businesses and normal home life
  • People exposed to poor sanitation and lack of drinking water
  • Homes without heating and a limited ability to heat food and water
  • Limited ability to keep food cold or frozen
  • Increased risk to vulnerable people
  • No ability to get fuel from filling stations
  • People unable to get cash from cash machines or to make card purchases
  • Limited telecommunications (including mobile phones)
  • Civil unrest

What are we doing in Gwent?

  • Work with utility companies to where possible manage supply interruption
  • Develop multi agency plans to manage and mitigate longer term interruptions to services, including business continuity arrangements
  • Identify vulnerable people who will need additional support in the event of utility outage

What can you do?

  • Know where the cut off points are for your utilities and how to switch them off
  • Keep a note of your utility companies contact details and if affected advise them of any issues
  • Think about how you would manage without key utilities, put together an emergency kit with items such as wind up torch and radio, tinned food and drinking water 
  • Outages may come without warning. If this is the case consider how you can be prepared e.g. fill the bath with drinking water
  • Check on neighbours and relatives who may be vulnerable to see if there is anything they require
  • Be alert for suspicious callers turning up at the door posing as utility workers. Always check the ID’s of visitors before allowing them in your home.

Loss of Power

Many people don’t know they should contact their local electricity network operator if they have a power cut. They often call the electricity supplier who they pay their bills to. That’s why the electricity network operators have introduced 105 – to provide you with an easy-to-remember number to call, that will put you through to your local electricity network operator who can help. Visit the 105 website.

A power cut in your home can cause a huge inconvenience. If you lose power, there are a couple of things you should do straight away:

  • Check your trip switch to see if it has been tripped; if it has, try to reset it.
  • Check if street lights are out and if your neighbours have lost power to see if the problem only affects your supply.
  • If your power cannot be restored and your neighbours have suffered a power loss as well, contact your electric provider who will be able to give you an estimate of how long it will take for your power supply to be restored.

If you do lose power, there are a number of steps you can take:

  • Keep your freezer door shut and your food should stay frozen for around 12 hours.
  • Turn off electrical equipment around your home, such as your television.
  • Leave a light switched on so that you know when power is restored.
  • Make sure you have charged batteries in your house to power any electrical equipment used to help health conditions.
  • Have a wind-up torch easily accessible.

You can also call 105 if you spot damage to electricity power lines and substations that could put you, or someone else, in danger. If there’s a serious immediate risk, you should call the emergency services too.

105 is a free service, available to people in England, Scotland and Wales.

You can call the number from most landlines and mobile phones.