A simple Android and iPhone feature will help avoid a shock this winter

The UK could face a winter of blackouts, with power outages of up to three hours expected if gas supplies run low. The warning comes from the National Grid, which said that although the scenario was “unlikely”, there could be supply disruptions if the energy crisis worsens. If you don’t want to be caught off guard and own an iPhone or Android device, there is one simple thing you can do to prepare for issues that may affect your region.

A number of electricity operators, such as Northern Power Grid and UK Power Networks, offer SMS alert systems that notify Android and iPhone users of power outages.

If your provider offers this system and you register, you will receive messages informing you of the occurrence of a power outage, the progress of work to resolve the problem and the date it was resolved.

In addition to getting useful updates, signing up for these services can be invaluable as power outages can also affect your mobile internet connection, leaving you without web access during a power outage – which makes even more difficult to know what is going on.

If you want to know who the operator is in your area, go to this page on the Energy Networks Association website.

Enter your postal code and you will know who the network operator is in your area. Then go to their website to see if they offer an SMS alert system in the event of a power outage.

If your operator does not offer SMS alerts, you can also, in the event of a power failure, call 105.

This free service will tell you about power outages in your area and allow you to report when an outage has occurred.

Speaking about the threat of power outages this winter, a spokesperson for National Grid ESO – Britain’s electricity system operator – told Express.co.uk: “Overall this winter will be probably difficult for the energy supply throughout Europe.

“We have taken significant steps to try to mitigate the impacts for UK consumers and expect that in our base case margins will be adequate.”

While the Energy Networks Association added: “Procedures for emergency planned power outages such as this have existed for decades and are simulated annually in emergency drills by the energy industry prior to the ‘winter.

“If necessary, emergency procedures are designed to minimize the impact on customers as much as possible, limiting power cuts to shorter periods in order to manage overall electricity demand. However, if winter is going to be difficult, there is no guarantee that emergency measures will be necessary.

“If an emergency power cut is put in place, customers in some parts of the country would typically be without power for about three hours a day during the emergency.”

In addition to signing up for any text alerts provided by the energy networks in your area, you may want to stock up on a few supplies to help you prepare for a power outage.

Amid warnings of potential power cuts this winter, there has already been a spike in people buying candles as they stock up in the event of a power outage.

While Britons have also bought electric blankets and energy efficient slow cookers to help lower their heating bills amid the current cost of living crisis.

Another item you might want to invest in this winter is a power bank – given how indispensable smartphones have become to our daily lives, you wouldn’t want to run out of battery on your phone when the power goes out. running .

This is especially the case if you use your phone as a torch or think you’ll need to call someone in the event of a power outage.

There is a huge selection of power banks on the market, so you won’t be spoiled for choice.