Damage to the power network from Storm Arwen has affected around 1,000,000 homes and businesses. While over 90% of customers have been reconnected, 42,000 customers remain without power.
The worst hit areas are in Scotland and the north east of England. Engineers are continuing to uncover significant damage across the network, with hundreds of faults requiring thousands of engineers and equipment.
Additional teams have been drafted in from across the country, including from Northern Ireland and the south of England.
Helicopter and drone surveys have helped to identify the scale of the problem in hard to reach areas. However, it is not possible for helicopters to fly today (Tuesday) in some parts of the country because of weather conditions. In one instance yesterday, helicopter patrols uncovered nearly 100 electrical poles snapped and needing to be replaced. This aerial vantage point has proven invaluable as roads have been blocked by snow and debris, making access for engineering teams and equipment extremely hazardous.
Customers who are without power are urged to make alternative arrangements for accommodation wherever possible. Engineers are working to reconnect as many homes as possible as quickly and safely as they can. However, for localised faults, affecting single households and groups of houses, particularly those in the north of Scotland, it is likely reconnection times will unfortunately extend beyond today (Tuesday). This is in part due to the significant damage which has been discovered on the local low voltage electricity network.
Storm Arwen has been one of the most damaging storms experienced in at least 15 years. It has been at least three times as damaging as 'Beast from the East', the storm which hit the country in 2018.
A spokesperson for Energy Networks Association said:
"Supporting and reconnecting customers is our absolute priority and our customer teams are working around the clock to contact customers and keep them informed. We are also working with other utilities, local authorities, emergency services and the British Red Cross to support this effort."
- Energy networks are working with British Red Cross and local resilience forums to provide extra help and support.
- Welfare centres have been set up in some of the worst hit areas, providing hot food and respite.
- Dedicated teams are contacting vulnerable customers to offer support.
- Contact centres are working around the clock to respond to enquiries by phone and on social media. Due to high call volumes, customers are urged to monitor social media for updates wherever possible.
- Customers who remain without power should consider making alternative arrangements and staying with friends or family where possible.
- Customers can monitor progress by following their network operator on Twitter. Enter your postcode at energynetworks.org/StormArwen to find your local network operator’s details, including their social media channel.
About Energy Networks Association
Energy Networks Association (ENA) is the industry body representing the electricity wires, gas pipes and energy system in the UK and Ireland.
ENA helps its members meet the challenge of delivering electricity and gas to communities across the UK and Ireland safely, sustainably and reliably.
Its members include every major electricity and gas network operator in the UK and Ireland, independent operators, National Grid ESO which operates the electricity system in Great Britain and National Grid Gas which operates the gas system in Great Britain. Its affiliate membership also includes companies with an interest in energy, including Heathrow Airport and Network Rail.
What are energy network operators?
Energy network operators manage and maintain the wires, pipes and other infrastructure which delivers electricity and gas to your home, business and community. They are private companies which are regulated by Ofgem and employ around 40,000 people in Great Britain.