Northern Powergrid, the company responsible for the electricity distribution network across the North East, Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire, is seeing significant damage to its power network as Storm Arwen continues to batter the region.
The severe gales which started around 6pm yesterday have caused power cuts for more than 55,000 customers, predominantly in Northumberland, County Durham and Tyne and Wear area, and the storm is continuing to move south across the network company’s operating area.
The storm has already caused more than 290 instances of damage since 6pm yesterday.
Northern Powergrid’s teams are continually assessing the scale of the impact and repairs required and ensuring it responds to emergency situations throughout.
Continued storm force winds mean it is currently unsafe for its teams to climb and repair any damage caused to overhead power lines by fallen trees and flying debris. Travel in some areas is also proving very difficult and unsafe due to the ongoing weather conditions.
The network operator will mobilise teams as soon as conditions allow. As a result of the ongoing situation, the majority of customers currently affected will remain off supply until the storm eases and it is safe to carry out restoration and repairs. Wherever possible, Northern Powergrid engineers are switching electricity through alternative routes on its network to get customers back on supply.
Rod Gardner, Northern Powergrid’s Major Incident Manager, said: “Storm Arwen has already caused significant disruption to parts of our network and the storm force winds, which are continuing to batter our region, are not expected to ease until later today.
“The storm is still ongoing and our engineers are doing everything possible to assess the scale of the damage and extensive repairs required. We have all our resources in place and our priority is to deal with emergency situations, support our customers and ensure our people can work safely as soon as the conditions allow.
“We thank our customers for their patience and would like to reassure them that we are doing all we can to get their power back on safely and as quickly as possible.”
Northern Powergrid’s 24-hour contact centre has additional advisors who are offering customers support and advice. Customers can also use their mobile to visit the company’s website, northernpowergrid.com, to report and get updates about a power cut. Northern Powergrid’s Twitter (@northpowergrid) and Facebook pages will continue to provide regular updates and advice to customers and local communities.
Customers who may need greater assistance in a power cut due to their medical or personal circumstances and are Priority Services Members, are being kept updated as a priority.
Northern Powergrid is warning 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 – www.northernpowergrid.com/power-cuts 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.