THE report into the power companies’ shortcomings following the battering Storm Arwen gave the region is welcome.

Two lessons seem to stand out. Firstly, Northern Powergrid seemed not to understand the rural nature of the north. Anyone who has lived here in times of storms – and we’ve had plenty of flooding in recent years – will know how quickly roads get closed and so movement becomes difficult. Fortunately, floodwater drains quite quickly so communications reopen, but blown down trees remain down until someone chops them up. The grid must now understand the resources that are needed to tackle such conditions in rural areas.

Secondly, communication. We see this time and again with companies which have grown too big. They just don’t seem able to answer a telephone and tell the consumer the true picture so that they can plan their lives accordingly. We see the same with airlines as they cancel flights but fail to communicate with their stranded passengers.

This lack of information frustrates customers who are already stressed, yet with modern methods of communication, it could easily be put right if customers really were the number one priority.

Sadly, we’ll only know if these lessons really have been taken on-board when we get struck by the next freak storm. We hope that never happens but, with the changes in our climate becoming increasingly evident, we fear it is only a matter of time until the grid’s resilience is tested once again.