COMPENSATION cheques for people hit by Storm Arwen have been going astray with some ending up in abandoned homes, The Northern Echo can reveal.

Reimbursement cheques for hundreds of pounds have been delivered to "strange" addresses as residents claim the utility company's database is somewhat "inaccurate."

Since the end of November 2021, thousands of homeowners in County Durham have been owed sums of money for the power outage caused by the storm.

Residents reported heavy winds, torrential rain and cold weather, while around 240,000 houses in the North East were left without heating and electricity. 

Following the outage, Northern Powergrid announced that affected properties would be given £70 if their power was off for 24 hours, and £70 for every 12 hours it was impacted after that.

It also announced that it would help to provide associated costs, such as emergency accommodation or food.

Read more: A1(M) in County Durham closed after crash

Just before Christmas, the company started to send cheques out to customers, but the issue has dragged into January, with some left waiting up to six weeks for their money.

Nigel Day, who lives in Harwood, County Durham, received his compensation cheque on Monday (January 25), along with a lot of residents from Middleton and Teesdale. 

During the power outage, Mr Day, like many others, was left without electricity for over eight days and had to turn to his community for help. 

The Northern Echo: Storm Arwen devastated the North East after Storm Arwen battered the region at the end of November. Storm Arwen devastated the North East after Storm Arwen battered the region at the end of November.

Despite finally receiving his reimbursement from Northern Powergrid, the Harwood resident has had an uphill battle for compensation after initially being issued with the wrong amount. 

Similar reports of homeowners receiving the wrong amount of money and a cheque addressed to someone else have also been circulating. 

Mr Day said: “My cheque from Northern Powergrid arrived on Friday. It is for the correct amount. My postman tells me he has delivered similar envelopes to nearly everybody on his round – which runs from Middleton to the top of Teesdale.”

Read more: Driver taken to hospital after crash on A1(M) in County Durham

Now that Mr Day has got his compensation – he’s keen to point out that others might not have been as fortunate to receive their money.

He has also been informed that some cheques that Northern Powergrid have sent out include ‘strange’ addresses. This includes money getting sent to the water pump at Harwood, the village telephone box that was removed by BT five years ago, as well as Hilltop; an abandoned property now the site of a public service radio mast. 

Mr Day added: “These will, of course, be returned to sender, but it does suggest the Northern Powergrid database is somewhat inaccurate.”

The Northern Echo: Northern Powergrid have admitted that some issues has impacted compensation, including needing additional information from customers.Northern Powergrid have admitted that some issues has impacted compensation, including needing additional information from customers.

After being contacted by the County Durham resident, The Northern Echo sent this query to Northern Powergrid to see if they were aware of any postal issues with their cheques, including the ‘strange locations’ the cheques have ended up. 

In response, a spokesperson for the utility company said that while 24,000 cheques have been sent out so far – there are still issues with getting correct information from customers. 

The spokesperson added: “For the majority of our customers who were due a payment it was a straightforward matter of receiving and cashing their cheque, which many have done successfully.

“Of the 24,000 cheques we issued, we have received around 1,600 queries, and we’re working through them on a case-by-case basis. Around 1,800 customers have asked us to make out their cheques in a different name, and over 1,300 are already processed. The rest are expected to be done by the middle of this week.

“We also issued more than 5,000 letters asking our customers for the information we need to make sure they get the correct amount – that information is starting to come in now.

“In some cases, it is as simple as us needing the name of the customer to whom the cheque will be paid. In others, we need to clarify the details of much more complicated situations where multiple incidents were repaired at different times to ensure we have the full length of the power cut logged for that customer.”

Keep up to date with all the latest news on our website, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

You can also follow our dedicated County Durham Facebook page for all the latest in the area by clicking here.

For all the top news updates from right across the region straight to your inbox, sign up to our newsletter here.

Have you got a story for us? Contact our newsdesk on or contact 01325 505054