THOUSANDS of people are still without power this Sunday after Storm Arwen left around 240,000 properties with no electricity.

Northern Powergrid, the company responsible for the electricity distribution network across the North East, Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire, has restored power to around 200,000 of 240,000 customers whose power supplies have been affected by Storm Arwen.

From first light Northern Powergrid’s teams continued work on the huge task of repairing the damage left in the wake of the storm and identifying further points of damage that will need to be repaired. 

A spokesperson said all resources available are deployed, including contractors, and, as part of an industry mutual aid agreement, the company has also secured additional teams from other UK network operators to bolster its response and assist with the complex permanent repairs needed following the impact of the storm.

More than 700 of 1,100 incidents are still to address, so the company still has a huge amount of work to be completed.

Many of the faults will require intensive work and are localised with smaller numbers of customers associated, which means some customers will remain off supply for long periods as the network operator works through this programme. 

Northern Powergrid’s teams are identifying those at risk of being off supply for more than another 24 hours so customers can make alternative arrangements.

The storm caused varying degrees of damage across the whole of Northern Powergrid’s operating area, with the North East region taking the brunt of the storm.

Fallen trees and flying debris damaged electricity infrastructure in numerous locations and travel conditions remain challenging in some places.

Northern Powergrid said its customer support vehicles were deployed in communities, wherever possible, to support customers and it continues to work with the British Red Cross and multi-agency partners to support the most vulnerable members in the communities affected.

Rod Gardner, Northern Powergrid’s Major Incident Manager, said yesterday was challenging because teams were unable to safely climb to carry out necessary repairs, due to the continued storm force winds.

Worst power cuts for 15 years

He said: “The storm was well forecasted and despite being prepared, Storm Arwen resulted in damage of a scale and intensity not seen for 15 years.

"Despite yesterday’s condition hampering our ability to travel and work at height, we did manage to restore power to 180,000 customers by various means available to us in day one of this event.

“We’re sorry that some customers are still without power despite the huge effort by our colleagues. We understand the impact this has on peoples’ lives particularly at this time of year.

“We worked into the night and did everything possible to restore as many supplies as we could. We have a lot of work still to do, but our dedicated teams will not stop until we complete all the work required.

“Due to the magnitude of the storm, our website was inundated with requests and was not able to keep pace with demand. We pride ourselves on being able to keep our customers informed and we are doing everything possible to keep people updated using all available channels including social media.

"We’re sorry for any inconvenience and appreciate your patience and understanding as we work to address this.

“We have had a dedicated team contacting our priority services customers to offer support.

"Our customer support vehicles are also being used in communities, wherever possible, to support our customers and we continue to work with the British Red Cross and multi-agency partners to support the most vulnerable members in the communities worse affected.”

He said some homes and businesses will remain without power for some time today, and an interactive map of the current power cut situation shows many areas of the region are still affected.

The Northern Echo:

This image from Northern Powergrid shows just how many power cuts its teams are still trying to fix, as of noon on Sunday, November 28, in the wake of Storm Arwen

For the updated, live map click here

He added: “We apologise and understand the impact this has on customers who are still without power, especially at this time of year.”

Those without power were asked to consider seeking alternative accommodation with family and friends or for anyone who knows someone without power, to consider what support they can offer.

Mr Gardener said: “Our contact centre, social media and website remain extremely busy. At this point, we ask that you only contact us if you are at risk, so we can help keep our channels clear for those who may need us in an emergency.”

Northern Powergrid’s teams will continue to provide updates on its social media channels and is encouraging others to share their updates.

Its 24-hour contact centre continues to have additional advisors who are offering customers support and advice.

Customers can also use their mobile to visit Northern Powergrid’s Twitter @northpowergrid and Facebook pages where the company will continue to provide regular updates and advice to customers and local communities.

Northern Powergrid is continuing to warn local people who spot any damaged cables or equipment not to approach the area as equipment may still be live and pose a risk of electrocution.

Customers must contact the company immediately by calling 105.

Power cut advice and tips include:

• turn off electrical appliances at the socket (this is particularly important for heating or cooking appliances as your power could be restored at any time and potentially cause a safety hazard)

• keep one light switched on so you know when power is restored

• keep a battery or wind-up torch handy – they’re much safer than candles

• bookmark Northern Powergrid’s online power cut reporting service on your mobile devices – and add 105, the free power cut, to mobile phone contact details

• have a charged mobile phone with important numbers, including Northern Powergrid’s contact details, easily accessible.

• check on your elderly or sick neighbours and relatives

• ensure you have warm clothing and blankets handy and some food and drink in your home that does not require electricity to heat or prepare it

• only call 999 in the event of an emergency.