Electricity Safety

Find out about the council's electricity safety responsibilities, as your landlord. Also find out what you are responsible for, and advice for electricity safety.

Who is responsible for checking the electrical wiring in my home?

We will inspect electrical wiring within your home every 5 years. You must let us have access to carry out these safety checks.

You will be told when your electrical safety check is due. If you are not able to give access, please contact the electrical contractor on the number given to arrange another date.

It is critical that you provide access to your home. If you don't, we will start legal proceedings to gain entry. We will charge you the cost of gaining entry and any additional costs.

What to do if the lights or sockets fail

If the power in your house goes off then you should first check the fuse box or circuit breaker. If you have a prepayment meter you should also check that you have enough credit.

How to know if your home is equipped with a fuse box or circuit breaker


The fuse box is usually close to your electric meter, and each fuse covers a particular wiring circuit in your house. We are currently upgrading older fuse boxes with modern circuit breakers.

If you are experiencing problems with a particular electrical appliance within your home, first unplug the appliance and check that the plug fuse has not blown. If it has, arrange for the appliance to be checked by an electrician.

If the appliance fuse has not blown, contact the repairs line on 03456 08 12 03 for further help.

Circuit breakers

Your house may be fitted with circuit breakers instead of fuses. These are sensitive devices designed to switch off the electricity supply if there is a fault.

A circuit breaker has a small switch or button relating to each electrical circuit within the house, for example lighting, sockets and cooker.

If your power fails and you do not know what caused it:

  • switch off everything, including lights
  • set all the circuit breaker switches to the ‘on’ position
  • switch the lights and appliances on one at a time. You will then be able to find the appliance or light that has caused the problem
  • if a faulty appliance has caused the power failure, you should unplug it and have it checked by a qualified electrician
  • if you have a faulty light fitting, turn it off and contact the repairs line on 03456 08 12 03

Please remember that we are not responsible for faults in any light fitting that you have installed, including spotlights or halogen lights. If problems are experienced in respect of your own light fittings you should turn it off and consult a qualified electrician. You may be recharged for a call-out for electrical faults that relate to your own appliances. 

What to do if all the power in your home fails

If you discover or suspect a fault in the electrical system in your house and there has not been a power cut, you should contact the repairs line on 03456 08 12 03.

What to do if there is a power cut

If you experience a loss of power and there does not seem to be a problem with your wiring, circuit breaker or fuses, you may be experiencing a power cut.

There are also a number of other things that you can do if there is a power cut:

  • keep a torch with fresh batteries in a place where you can reach it easily, avoid using candles if possible
  • turn off your electrical appliances and lights, but leave one light switched on so you know when the power is back on
  • remember that the doorbell will probably not work (unless it runs on batteries)
  • if we have warned you that the electricity will be turned off, boil some water and keep it in a thermos flask; you can use it to make hot drinks or fill a hot water bottle if it gets too cold
  • when your supply is back on, you may need to reset electric timers and alarm clocks
  • food in the freezer should keep for about eight hours without power
    • don't open the freezer doors unless you have to
    • check the food when the power is back on to make sure it has not thawed, if it has, do not refreeze it
    • you may be able to claim on your household contents insurance for any lost food, check your policy to make sure

What other safety precautions you should take in respect of electricity

  • If you suspect that an appliance is faulty, do not use it, make sure that a fully qualified electrician checks it; you are responsible for making sure that any electrical appliances that are used in your property are safe
  • Make sure you do not overload sockets, as this can be dangerous
  • If a plug is charred it may be that the fuse has blown, always use the rating of fuse shown in the manufacturer’s instructions for the appliance
  • Do not use a socket or light switch that is cracked, damaged or charred, call the repairs line on 03456 08 12 03
  • If you have young children in your home, make sure that you use safety covers on any sockets they can reach
  • Make sure your electrical appliances are kept in a safe condition