NORTHERN POWERGRID TEAMS AND ENGINEERS FROM ACROSS UK WORK FROM FIRST LIGHT TO RESTORE CUSTOMERS STILL AFFECTED AS RESULT OF STORM ARWEN
As at 4pm
- Northern Powergrid teams work from first light and more than 2,000 people supporting network operator’s response in the field and behind the scenes.
- More than 100 extra engineers from UK Power Networks, Northern Ireland Electricity and National Grid Electricity Transmission working in partnership with Northern Powergrid’s teams today.
- Storm repairs going on in all operating areas, with majority of the damage and restoration work in Northumberland and Tyne and Wear.
- Additional helicopters flying today to support engineers on the ground and move materials to assist with major works required (overhead poles and power line replacements).
- Every customer still affected as a result of Storm Arwen will be contacted today.
- Vulnerable customers being supported through Northern Powergrid customer support vehicles, British Red Cross and additional support from Northern Gas Networks.
- Network operator discovering additional work as supplies are restored, where damage points further down the system would not be evident until the main system was restored.
- All planned work remains postponed at present with all teams focused on activities to get customers back on supply.
Teams at Northern Powergrid, the company responsible for the electricity distribution network across the North East, Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire, have been working since first light as part of its major response to restore power to remaining customers still affected as a result of Storm Arwen.
The network operator has now restored power to around 213,000 of the 240,000 customers affected and is working to restore thousands more today. It is aiming to have restoration of supplies on main high voltage lines complete today in all regions except Northumberland and Tyne and Wear - which were the worst hit by the storm and the network has been significantly damaged. Low voltage network and single premises repairs will remain and will be completed as soon as is possible.
The scale of damage in some locations mean some large sections of overhead lines – particularly in Northumberland, will need to be rebuilt. Northern Powergrid is also discovering additional work as supplies are restored, where damage points further down the electricity system would not be evident until the main system was restored.
Where it can, Northern Powergrid is continuing to deploy temporary fixes that get customers back on supply whilst its teams coordinate the necessary permanent repairs to get the region’s power network back to full strength. Due to the scale of damage, the permanent repairs required are expected to continue until the end of this year.
Northern Powergrid remains focused on completing repairs which will get the most customers back on supply first or where there are higher numbers of vulnerable customers. Throughout today its customer service team, which is bolstered with support from colleagues elsewhere in its business and advisors from other energy network contact centres, will be calling everyone who is still without power as a result of the storm. They will provide updates to help customers make informed choices and make alternative arrangement, where required, particularly with the current wintery conditions.
Rod Gardner, Northern Powergrid’s Major Incident Manager, said: “The response effort we have coordinated is one the largest we have ever undertaken with our people, contractors and other network operators joining us to help tackle the huge amount of damage and complex faults that we have to manage as a result of Storm Arwen.
“Despite the immense challenges we have faced, we have restored more than 213,000 customers’ supplies and our dedicated teams will not stop until all customers are restored, and our network is returned to full strength.
“We are making progress given the conditions, carrying out repairs and restoring power. We are doing everything possible to restore power to as many customers today and will ensure we call every customer who is still off supply as a result of the storm. However, the complexity and scale of the situation means that some customers will continue to be without power overnight.
"The repair work needed is resource intensive as it can involve the need for site clearance, tree cutting and re-erection of poles and other overhead network infrastructure on a large scale.
“We have additional colleagues operating in support roles, proactively contacting all customers affected or helping with welfare support. We also had teams working through the night and preparing all the necessary job information and materials so our teams could hit the ground running from first light.
“Our teams are working incredibly hard in what are very challenging circumstances – particularly with snowfall on higher ground.
“We have had many words of support from customers, which we appreciate, and we fully understand customers’ growing frustrations. We are very sorry for the continued impact to our customers’ lives and we thank them for their continued patience and understanding.”
Northern Powergrid’s customer support vehicles continue to be about in communities, supporting customers with access to hot water, drinks, mobile phone charging and winter warmer packs. The network operator is continuing to work with the British Red Cross and multi-agency partners, as part of Local Resilience Forums, to support the most vulnerable members in the worst affected communities.
Northern Powergrid continues to work closely with its local resilience partners to prioritise support for its most vulnerable customers. Any customer with a vulnerability who are concerned about remaining off supply, or if you have concerns about a vulnerable relative or neighbour, should contact us on 105.
Northern Powergrid continues to work closely with the region’s gas, water and rail network companies to coordinate with their teams and prioritise its work to help minimise the broader impact on the region.
Northern Powergrid is reinforcing the importance that local people who spot any damaged cables or equipment must not 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.
Have you checked out our Help & Advice directory, it may just have the answers that you're looking for.