Power cuts are always annoying, but it isn't always clear what to do. Should you wait it out and hope the lights flicker back to life? Or should you head out, risking life and limb in the darkness, in pursuit of a functioning civilisation?
The good news is that next time there's a brownout, there's a new number you can dial to find out what's going on. Today, the power companies across England, Wales and Scotland have joined forces to launch "105", a simplified means of contacting the electricity company. Calling it will put the caller directly through to their local electricity network operator (like UK Power Networks in London and the South East). And don't worry, it's free to call.
The aim is to provide a single place where you can report power cuts or damage to electrical infrastructure, or find out more about why the lights have gone off in your area. It's funded entirely by the network operators and follows research (of unknown quality), which claims that 72% of people don't know who to contact in the event of a power cut - and that 43% of people think they should contact their electricity supplier, rather than the network behind it.