Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions
This page tells you more about Rota Load Disconnection in the form of Questions and Answers. There are also some Helpful Hints on how to minimise the inconvenience of the power cuts.
What is Rota Load Disconnection?
Rota Load Disconnection is implemented to make sure that during an energy emergency, the nation's electricity is distributed as equally and fairly as possible. The electricity is turned off area by area for about three hours, based on a rota. The purpose of RotaLoad Disconnection is to reduce the demand for electricity to match the level of electricity generation that is available.This means that you may not have electricity all of the time, until there is sufficient power available again.
To control the use of electricity during these emergency periods, the country is divided into 'blocks' which are switched off in turn according to the rota.
How is the Rota devised?
The country is split into 18 BLOCKS which are each made up of a number of discrete geographical areas. Each of these blocks are assigned an alphabetic letter between A and U, the letters F, I and O are not used.
Each day of the week is split into 8 three hour SLOTS. The first slot of a day starts at 00:30.
The blocks are allocated to the slots in such a way as to allow businesses in any given block to operate as normally as possible for 3 days in succession. This means that power cuts will either be concentrated between Monday and Wednesday or Thursday and Saturday with Sunday being shared between all blocks.
The more severe the emergency, the greater the number of blocks that will be switched off at the same time.
How often will I be switched off?
The electricity supply will be turned off block by block for a 3 hour slot at a time, depending on the shortfall of electricity. The shortfall can change throughout the day and is dependent on the weather, the time of day, the time of year and the demand for electricity.
At the lowest level of emergency, you could expect to be without electricity for just three slots in a week. However, if there is a severe shortage of electricity, you may be without supply for several slots in a week.
How will you know when you will be without electricity?
There are two pieces of information that you need to be aware of; Firstly your Rota Load Disconnection Block letter and secondly the slots which show when you will be affected.
Your Rota Load Disconnection Block letter is static and will not change during an emergency. It is based on where you live and how your electricity is supplied. You will need your Post Code, and then just follow the prompts carefully. Alternatively, you can text your Post Code to 86633. For more information on what will happen in an electricity supply emergency, click here.
Once you have your Rota Block letter you then need to know when that letter will be switched off and on. The Schedule of Rota Load Disconnections will be published through National & Local TV and/or Radio Stations.
Will I go off supply at exactly the time stated?
For technical reasons, the actual time at which your supply is disconnected and reconnected can only be approximate, and may vary by up to half an hour.
What do I do if my electricity does not come back on when I expect it to?
If your electricity supply has not been restored within 2 hours of the time given then please call your local ‘Electricity Distribution Network Operator' whose number will be in the yellow pages under electricity.
There may have been a separate power supply fault affecting your area, so you should call your local power loss helpline and listen to the message carefully for further instructions.
Are there any exceptions?
There are government guidelines which allow a very few essential organisations to remain on supply (however in such an event they MUST also reduce their electricity consumption).
Rota Load Disconnection action is needed to protect the nation's interests.
It needs to work on an area by area basis and therefore it is not possible to separate individual properties. To be fair to everyone the power cuts will happen at different times on different days to minimise any inconvenience.
How long will it last?
Rota Load Disconnection will be needed while there is a shortfall in electricity production. When the situation improves you will be informed through radio and TV messages.
How can I help?
It may be possible to avoid some power cuts by reducing the amount of electricity you are using. You can help by turning off non-essential items such as dish washers or tumble dryers and by minimising the use of electric cooking. Also unplug all equipment that has a standby feature - they use electricity even when you are not using them.