Storm Arwen: Power company criticised over continued cutson November 30, 2021 at 9:59 am

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About 20,000 households had a fourth night without power and say getting information is difficult.

View from helicopter of dozens of trees blown over

Image source, Northern Powergrid

A power company has been accused of taking too long to restore power after Storm Arwen caused outages across the north of England.

More than 20,000 households had a fourth night without power and say getting information is difficult.

One resident, from Blanchland in Northumberland, said “nobody can get through to Northern Powergrid and the situation is getting desperate”.

Jim Cardwell from the company said he was “sorry for the disruption”.

“There are significant areas where we’ve got large sections of our overhead lines that carry our power to people that need to be rebuilt in order to return supplies to normal,” he said.

Engineers are installing temporary fixes and using generators and had been able to deploy helicopters to survey damage since winds had died down.

Some customers may be without a connection until Friday, the firms said.

Thousands of people in Scotland have also spent a fourth night without power, with the north-east of the country remaining the worst hit, with police declaring a major incident in the area due the widespread disruption.

Damage to power boxes

Image source, Northern Powergrid

Simon Lisney, from Craghead, County Durham, said his power had been off since Friday and he had spent four hours on hold to Northern Powergrid on Sunday before the line dropped.

“There’s no communication,” he said.

“You go on to their Facebook page, their Twitter page – they don’t respond.

“You try and phone and the calls are dropping.

“There’s been no foresight. The Beast from the East was bad but power didn’t go off for four or five days.”

Mr Cardwell said the company had been dealing with an “unprecedented level of calls”.

“We’re sorry if customers have struggled to get hold of us,” he said.

“We try out very best to deal with high volumes [of calls] but there have been places and times where customers have been let down.”

The company had rung round those still without power yesterday to understand their circumstances, Mr Cardwell said.

He urged anyone who had not been contacted, especially if they had needs which made them more vulnerable, to “do your best to get in touch”.

The Angel Inn, Wooler

Richard O’Connor, from Blanchland, said the village had been without heating, power or internet since Friday night.

“Nobody can get through to Northern Powergrid and the situation is getting desperate,” he said.

“People are cold and now going low on food.

“We need help.”

Northumberland farmer Simon Bainbridge said it was time “to get the Army in”.

“Get that logistics in, get people some hot food, get people some water and just try and get some of these villages back up on their feet,” he said.

“People are just cold and they’re miserable and they’ve got no water and it’s just not good.”

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