What to do if you have electrical damage from floods

With the wettest winter on record and storms battering the UK over the last few weeks, the resulting floods have caused devastation to homes and businesses across the country. Over 5000 properties are still flooded, tens of thousands of people have been left without power and the damage to equipment and electrical infrastructure is some of the most significant seen in decades.

As well as thousands of homes being affected by the floods, many businesses have also been hit. Slaters Electricals head office and factory were flooded in the huge tidal surge which hit the east coast in early December. The flood water damaged our substation and distribution equipment, cutting off the mains power to our factory and office.

Flood Damage at Slaters Factory

With many businesses facing not only building and equipment damage from flood water but also damage to their electrical infrastructure, we have compiled some tips and advice from our own personal and professional experience on what to do if your business has suffered electrical damage from floods.

First port of call ….

Firstly the most important thing to do is to wait until all flood water has subsided before inspecting any flooded electrical equipment. Nothing can be done until the flood water level has dropped, and we don’t need to tell you of the risk of injury or even death when you mix electrical equipment and flood water. It is also imperative that you only allow suitably qualified electricians or electrical contractors to check over and determine the damage to any electrical systems.

If your business is part of a decentralised energy scheme you will have responsibility for any onsite power and distribution equipment that you own which has been damaged. If not, the power and distribution equipment on your site will be managed by your local District Network Operator. You will need to contact the DNO for your area to check over any damaged equipment, and to reconnect your supply once all equipment has been fixed or replaced. If you are unsure who the District Network Operator is for your area this link to the national grid website will show you an area map the DNO’s cover.

Any internal electrical systems within your buildings will need to be checked over by a qualified electrician and the DNO will require a safety certificate before they will reconnect your supply.

Getting power back to your business …

Power outages to any business is a major issue. Even one day without power can potentially mean huge losses for a company. If your site’s power and distribution equipment has been damaged by flood water, it is essential to bring in temporary generation equipment which can allow power back to your site while the permanent equipment is either repaired or replaced. You may need this essential power during the clean-up operation or just to allow your business to start production again. The longer the downtime, the higher the cost to your business.

There are a number of solutions for a temporary power requirement, but if you own your power and distribution equipment one of the most cost effective options is to hire a replacement which can be connected to the network while repair or replacement of your permanent equipment takes place. Hire equipment offers a number of benefits; units can be integrated into your existing site set up making it a quick and efficient option. There is no large upfront investment needed for hire equipment, as costs can be spread weekly or monthly over the rental period. And most companies offer immediate despatch on their rental equipment so you can have replacements onsite in a very quick turnaround time.

Replacing Equipment…

In an ideal situation any damaged electrical equipment will be able to be repaired, however this sometimes is not the case and the only option is to replace the damaged units. This can often mean a large investment will be needed to purchase replacements. Opting to purchase refurbished equipment rather than brand new is not only an economic and eco-friendly solution but is also an extremely timely option – with turnaround times being on average 50% quicker than new. One of the main priorities for any flood damaged businesses will be to get power back on in the quickest time possible, and with refurbished units costing on average 40% less than new they are the most cost effective choice.

In summary …

The flooding the country has seen this winter has been some of the worse since records began. However if you can act quickly and safely you can keep the damage and cost to the minimum possible. When we were flooded in December we were able to get temporary power to the site the following day, and our LV point of supply was repaired and we were fully reconnected within 10 days of the outage.

If you need any further advice or guidance or you have flood damaged electrical equipment please don’t hesitate to contact us or if you need any further information on hire equipment or refurbished equipment please view our dedicated web pages.