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On average, almost a quarter of people in the North of England aren’t prepared for winter weather according to recent findings.

The figures have been released to coincide with Be Winter Ready – a new initiative run by Northern Gas Networks and Northern Powergrid and the country’s other electricity and gas networks, which aims to help the public be better-prepared for winter.

The survey found that around half of people in Yorkshire don’t keep a torch in their house in case of a power cut, and more than three quarters of people don’t take steps to get their boiler serviced in advance of winter.

Furthermore, almost two-thirds of residents also don’t know who their local gas or electricity network operators are, with only 15 per cent saying they prepare themselves for winter by finding out who to contact if their gas or electricity goes off.

Northern Gas Networks and Northern Powergrid are calling on people across Yorkshire to follow these three simple steps to Be Winter Ready this winter:
• Know your free emergency numbers – In a power cut dial 105 or, for a gas emergency, dial 0800 111 999
• Prepare your home – Keep a torch handy and get your appliances serviced by a Gas Safe registered engineer to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Vulnerable households can get extra support by signing up to the Priority Services Register (insert link to page on our website)
• Keep your eyes open – Keep an eye on the weather forecast and, if you have a power cut or a gas emergency, check on your neighbours

Ian Waddle, Head of Customer Operations, at Northern Gas Networks, said: “The gas network is safe, reliable and resilient but it is always sensible to be prepared for the worst that winter might bring.

“We have an ongoing investment project to ensure the continued, safe and reliable supply of gas to some 6.8 million customers in the North of England for years to come, but severe winter weather can sometimes cause damage and disruption. We’re available 24-hours a day, seven days a week but by following these three simple steps our customers can help to Be Winter Ready.”

Siobhan Barton, Head of Stakeholder Relations at Northern Powergrid, the company responsible for the network that delivers electricity to 3.9 million homes and businesses across the North East, Yorkshire, Humberside and northern Lincolnshire, said: “Many customers don’t realise that, regardless of who they choose to buy their energy from, it’s Northern Powergrid, as their local electricity network operator, they need to call if their lights go out.

“We invest around £1 million every day in managing and improving our network but severe winter weather can sometimes cause a power cut. We want our customers to know that we’re here for them 24/7 and if they take action now by bookmarking our online power cut map, following us on social media, and adding 105 to their mobile phone they can ensure they have the information they need at their fingertips this winter.”

On the rare occasion power is interrupted or a gas emergency happens, the energy networks have engineers working around the clock to restore supplies safely and as quickly as possible, keeping customers regularly updated on the progress.

David Smith, Chief Executive of Energy Networks Association, said: “In recent years the chances of unplanned problems with electricity and gas supply have reduced dramatically. Since 1990, network companies have invested £80bn in improving the reliability of local energy networks in the UK. On average, gas customers will have their gas supply interrupted just once every 40 years.

“However, as the nights get colder and darker, the chances of severe weather increase. That’s why we are calling on people in the North of England to Be Winter Ready and make sure they are prepared in case they have a power cut or gas emergency.”

For more information about the campaign, visit: www.energynetworks.org and search ‘Be Winter Ready’. For winter guidance visit the NGN winter website page at: www.northerngasnetworks.co.uk/network-supply/preparing-for-winter

Anyone that smells gas or suspects carbon monoxide should call the National Gas Emergency Service immediately on 0800 111 999. This line is in operation 24-hours a day, seven days a week.