WITH weather conditions slightly improving in County Durham and the region left with the devastating aftermath of Storm Arwen, several thousand homes remain unconnected to electricity sources in the region.

Since Friday evening, patches of County Durham, North Yorkshire and the North East have been without power – relying heavily on businesses, local government agencies and community groups.

Despite Northern Powergrid now managing to bring 90 per cent of homes back on the network, 20,000 homes remain without power – leaving families and certain businesses stranded.

Read more: Storm Arwen hits roads, rail and properties across North East and Yorkshire

One of the communities impacted by Storm Arwen is Coronation in Bishop Auckland, which has seen a complete blackout since Friday evening – which amounts to more than 85 hours for many.

Read more: 3 County Durham schools still can't open because of Storm Arwen

A resident of Coronation, Vicky Jane, is just one of the thousands of people still without power, living in a house with her two young daughters and her parents next door.

Luckily for Vicky, she has a generator and fuel burner, which gives her family a few hours of electricity per evening, but others aren’t that fortunate.

The Northern Echo: Storm Arwen has brought snow, rain and high winds to County Durham, North Yorkshire and the North East.Storm Arwen has brought snow, rain and high winds to County Durham, North Yorkshire and the North East.

Speaking to the Northern Echo, Mrs Jane said: “The fact that we’ve been without power for more than four days in 2021 is truly maddening.

“I’ve got two young children to feed, myself to feed and my parents living next door. It’s a tough situation and one that’s difficult to see for my community.

“While we have a generator, there are elderly people who are stuck in their houses and have been stranded and let down by people in charge.”

The Northern Echo: Felled trees, broken pylons and damaged property has become the norm for a lot of communities across County Durham.Felled trees, broken pylons and damaged property has become the norm for a lot of communities across County Durham.

As well as looking after her direct family, Mrs Jane has been providing help to her brother and niece, who has cerebral palsy and requires a feeding machine.

She added: “I’ve tried my best to give everything I can to people, but after calling Northern Powergrid ten times a day and calls to MPs, I’m sick of it.

“It’s so frustrating – we can’t cook anything, so had to head to the community centre yesterday. They eventually ran out of power, though.”

Read more: Storm Arwen: Northern Powergrid map shows when North East homes will get power

Elsewhere near Bishop Auckland, charities and businesses also remain offline, due to felled powerlines.

Farplace Animal Rescue in Bishop Auckland has been told that it could be weeks before pylons are replaced outside the facility they use to save animals across County Durham.

The not-for-profit organisation has kept things going for the last three days with a temporary generator but have revealed that “finances simply won’t stretch far enough”.

The Northern Echo: Northern Powergrid have worked on reconnecting people since Friday evening. Northern Powergrid have worked on reconnecting people since Friday evening.

As a result, Farplace has launched a fundraising page to gain donations for a new generator, which is expected to cost around £15,000.

In a statement, the animal rescue said: “We have kept everything going for two days and have a small temporary generator taking the edge off that works for four hours then run out of fuel, so we need a big generator to ensure we can keep all the animals watered and warm in the future, linking in the future to renewable energy and a battery house.

“The urgent need of a generator installed will be around £15,000 all in for the cost of purchase, installation and integration with all barns and outbuildings. Any help you can give towards this would be most appreciated.

Read more: Storm Arwen pictures show trail of destruction across North East

“Not a single animal was lost in this storm, but we need to make sure we are more resilient for future storms.”

Off the back of communities still struggling in County Durham, MP for North West Durham, Richard Holden, has taken to Parliament to urge the Government to take action and get involved with support efforts.

Addressing the House of Commons yesterday, the MP said: “Storm Arwen is still impacting thousands of my constituents – leaving parts of County Durham, North Yorkshire and Cumbria without power for five days now.

The Northern Echo: MP for North West Durham, Richard Holden.MP for North West Durham, Richard Holden.

“The damage is worse than first thought, but it’s heartening to see that communities are pulling together.

“I wanted to put forward a point of order to ask the speaker whether a statement has been issued by the Government on the matter. What is the Government doing to support people?”

This question from Mr Holden prompted Speaker of the House, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, to confirm that no statement had been forthcoming from Prime Minister Boris Johnson or any of his cabinet.

The Northern Echo: Speaker of the House, Sir Lindsay Hoyle.Speaker of the House, Sir Lindsay Hoyle.

Mr Hoyle said: “First of all, I have great sympathy for the communities that are impacted. To be without power when the weather conditions are cold isn’t great.

“I’ve been offered no statement from the Government, but may I remind members that they can pursue other ways of getting things done, and this could prompt the government to come forward.”

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