UK Power Cut Survey Revealed
Power cuts can be extremely disruptive in a modern world so heavily reliant on electricity. Whether the cause is weather, high energy demand, or failures within the electricity network, these disturbances can cause mayhem in our daily lives and prohibit us from carrying out everyday tasks such as cooking, cleaning, or working – effectively halting our usual way of life.
To uncover more about power cuts and how they differ throughout the UK, we at UKPower have surveyed over 2,000 UK residents. Throughout the survey, we questioned respondents on the length and frequency of these power outages and how this affected their daily lives. We wanted to examine how this differs by region and UK city to understand which areas suffer most from power cuts.
Length and Frequency of Power Cuts Around the UK
Unfortunately, no matter where you are in the UK, there is a significant chance of experiencing a power cut at some point or another. However, the length and frequency of these periods without electricity can differ depending on the region.
In our survey, we quizzed UK adults to understand how often they experience a power cut. The results revealed that two-thirds of respondents (66%) experienced a power cut in their local area.
Furthermore, 23% of respondents revealed that they experience a power cut annually, while 10% shared that this occurs every 6-11 months.
It was shocking to learn that 4% experience a loss of power every two to three weeks, leading to the question: Which regions suffer from power cuts the most?
So, we now know how often people experience power cuts, but how long do they actually last? Our survey questioned residents to find out more and discovered that these power outages last up to two and a half hours on average across the UK, a length that is bound to cause disruption within households.
That’s right, 27% of those surveyed revealed their power cuts last between one to two hours, while 11% admitted – shockingly – that they can go on for three to four hours.
These outages can cause a wealth of disruption in people’s daily lives, especially when experiencing blackouts for an extended period of time. Regional city data again highlighted Glasgow (3.1 hours) and London (2.9 hours) as particularly bad cities for prolonged power issues, while Cardiff (2.9 hours) and Leeds (2.8 hours) also experienced a lengthy loss of power.
Examining the cities affected for the shortest amount of time, we found that people in Belfast and Nottingham had power outages lasting 1.8 hours on average. This may have been the shortest period, but it's still a lengthy time without electricity for UK residents.
Examining the time when these blackouts occur is crucial to better understanding how power outages affect people’s daily lives. Power cuts can affect people differently depending on the time of day. Ultimately, a disruption to electricity is never appreciated and will always come with disturbances to residents.
Our survey found that the most common time for UK residents to experience a loss of power was 9:54 am, during one of the busiest periods of the day. For those who work remotely, this could pose a massive issue to remaining connected to their team and completing their work.
Moreover, the use of appliances would also be restricted, meaning people’s morning routines would become disrupted due to the power cuts. Overall, this data highlights the inconvenience of these outages and how much of an effect they can have on daily lives.
So, how does this time compare throughout the UK? The results differed for those in the Yorkshire region – with people experiencing power cuts at 7:57 am, much earlier than the national average.
The East of England (8:40 am) and Greater London (8:35 am) also followed this trend, encountering power issues before 9 am and the national average.
In terms of cities, Sheffield was the location with the earliest outages at 7:30 am on average. Belfast bucked the trend in the opposite direction, with the Northern Irish capital having the latest power cuts on average, at 1:08 pm, while Bristol was the second-latest at 11:24 am. Ultimately, with every city and region experiencing these outages throughout the morning and early afternoon, the disruption is bound to affect routines and work.
How Power Outages Affect the UK
From the bustling urban streets in London to the rural countryside in Scotland, power cuts affect everyone in the UK in one way or another. Aside from uncovering how frequent and long these blackouts last, we also wanted to explore how daily lives are affected.
From impacting people’s ability to communicate to causing emotional stress, these power failures can have detrimental effects on households. Our survey aimed to explore how.
Over one-fifth (21%) of respondents shared that these outages can affect their ability to use their telephone, internet, or other forms of communication. As we already know, these power issues can last for two and a half hours on average – leaving people with no Wi-Fi for an extended period of time.
Wales was the region most affected in this way, with 31% responding that this is how a power cut affects their daily lives. Alternatively, only 16% of those in the North West had a similar response.
Additionally, 8% revealed that power cuts affect their ability to access essential medical equipment or home treatment requiring electricity, which impacted the younger generation the most – 17% of 16-24-year-olds.
Furthermore, 20% revealed that power cuts affect their ability to carry out household and work duties, affecting their routine and stopping them from completing essential tasks. Age data found that the younger generations were more likely to be affected in this way – over one-quarter of 16-24-year-olds (26%), compared to 14% of those aged 55 or above.
It was unpleasant to discover that 11% of survey respondents claim they experience emotional stress or anxiety throughout a power cut. Broken down by gender, 12% of women and 10% of men revealed this is a way these outages affect them.
Age-wise, the older generations seemed to be less stressed due to electricity interruptions, with just 8% of those aged 55+ reported feeling this way. Regionally, Liverpool (16%) and Brighton (15%) were the cities most emotionally affected by outages.
Other ways UK residents are directly impacted by power cuts include posing a risk to their safety (7%) and causing environmental concerns (6%). Overall, it’s clear that these energy outages can lead to a wealth of implications for the UK public. Throughout the survey, only 19% revealed that power cuts do not affect them in any way.
In our last section, we wanted to examine UK residents' confidence in their energy supplier’s response to power failures.
To do this, we asked whether they believe their supplier responds promptly and acceptably. Altogether, 56% agreed that their supplier responds promptly and acceptably.
Our investigation into the frequency, length and ways power cuts affect the British public yielded fascinating results. In particular, it was intriguing to see how the frequency of power cuts differs from region to region, with some areas affected more regularly than others.
With 21 power outages experienced annually within UK households, it was reassuring to see over half of the survey respondents reveal that they believe their supplier acts accordingly when a blackout occurs.
If you want to take a closer look at your energy rates, we at UKPower can help. Our free energy comparison service can help you negotiate a better energy contract to suit your household needs. Run an energy price comparison and see if you could pay less for gas and electricity.
We commissioned a CensusWide survey of 2,009 UK residents aged 16 and over on topics related to power cuts in the UK. The survey was carried out between the 4th of August and the 8th of August 2023.
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