NORTHERN POWERGRID ENHANCES CUSTOMER WELFARE PROVISION AND RESTORES POWER TO 95% OF CUSTOMERS AFTER STORM ARWEN
As at 11.30pm
- Customer welfare enhanced to provide hot meals, drinks, refuges and respite to worst affected communities and most vulnerable customers.
- Teams deployed directly into the communities to provide proactive support.
- Extra resources drafted into contact centre to take customer calls.
- Dedicated team proactively contacting priority services customers to offer support.
- Dedicated storm update and assistance email channel opened.
- 224,000 customers’ supplies restored and additional engineers from ESB Networks and Western Power Distribution join Northern Powergrid teams to support restoration work.
Northern Powergrid, the electricity distribution network operator for the North East, Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire, has enhanced its support for customers as part of its major response to Storm Arwen.
Across the day teams of people have been in communities providing proactive support to those worst affected. The network operator’s customer support vehicles have travelled from community to community providing customers with access to hot water, drinks, mobile phone charging and winter warmer packs. They have worked alongside the British Red Cross and multi-agency partners to ensure support is provided to the most vulnerable customers affected as a result of Storm Arwen. Arrangements are in place to continue this approach as long as needed for customers.
A dedicated storm update and assistance email channel has also been opened, so customers can share their contact details and receive proactive updates. Customers still affected should email StormArwen@NorthernPowergrid.com with their full name, address and mobile telephone number.
Northern Powergrid is advising, in line with industry guaranteed standards, that once all storm-affected customers’ supplies are restored it will proactively contact them advising of their payment depending on the duration of their power cut.
Northern Powergrid will provide financial assistance to any domestic customer who was still off supply on 29 November 2021 or later and who needs its help. This will include the reasonable costs of alternative accommodation and food (up to £15 per person per meal). It will also contribute to other reasonably incurred costs; for example where a customer arranges for their own back-up generator. Northern Powergrid will consider each customer’s circumstances on a case-by-case basis. All of its vulnerable customers will be eligible. Customers who require assistance should email StormArwen@northernpowergrid.com and Northern Powergrid will be in contact as quickly as it can to agree how it can help.
Insight from frontline teams and aerial inspections by three helicopters today has continued to inform the company’s restoration response so that it can provide more detailed estimates for customers of when their supply will be restored after the storm devastated parts of its network.
Northern Powergrid continues to make progress in reconnecting customers and communities in following the widespread and extensive damage. The electricity distributor has restored power to 224,000 of the 240,000 homes and businesses impacted by the storm and its teams will continue to work into the night and from first light tomorrow with more than 2,000 people supporting its response in the field and behind the scenes.
Rod Gardner, Northern Powergrid’s Major Incident Manager, said: “Across our business we have suspended routine activities to support our storm response and have deployed over 100 people to contact our affected customers or help with welfare support in worst affected communities.
“We have further bolstered our contact centre with support from other energy networks and we have added additional capacity to our website power cut checker to meet the increased demand.
“In the field we have made good progress in all of our regions which means that tomorrow the vast majority of restoration work will be in Northumberland, Tyne & Wear and County Durham. Our teams, contractors and additional engineers from other network operators, will continue to work into the night and restart tomorrow at first light.
“We do understand and appreciate peoples’ growing frustrations and we are very sorry for the continued impact to our customers’ lives. We thank them for their patience and understanding.”
The company is reminding customers of the importance reporting any damaged cables or equipment spotted by calling 105 and that local people must not approach the area as equipment may still be live.