Storm Arwen leaves 30,000 homes without power five days on from lashing UK
Energy suppliers have said 30,000 homes remain without power following the damage caused by Storm Arwen, after thousands of people spent a fifth night without electricity.
It will be at least the end of the week – seven days after the devastating storm – before electricity is restored to some, the Energy Networks Association (ENA) has warned.
A man makes safe fallen masonry from a property, which has damaged a nearby car in Sunderland. Credit: PA
Engineers have reconnected 97% of homes affected by the power cuts, with the majority of those still affected living in remote locations where access for crews is difficult.
Overnight, power was restored to a further 12,000 homes, the organisation said, and it has been working at 4,500 damage sites.
Engineers work on restoring power to villages and towns affected by power outages caused by severe weather. Credit: Electricity North West
Northern Powergrid said 16,000 homes were still off.
Liberal Democrat MP Tim Farron said “at least 7,000 homes” in his Westmorland and Lonsdale constituency have been without power for between three and five nights, and pressed for the army to assist engineers.
Respite centre and meal vans are operating in several places today to help those who are without power.
A man died in Ambleside, Cumbria, on Friday when a tree fell on him as winds of up to 90mph and heavy rain hit the UK.
ITV News Border has spoken to residents in Nenthead, Cumbria, who have been without power since Friday.
‘A lot of people are really struggling and we are feeling forgotten’
Meanwhile, in southern Scotland, about 2,000 properties remain off supply in the Borders and 300 across Dumfries & Galloway.
Chris Burchell, managing director of Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks, apologised to customers.
He said: “The impact of Storm Arwen has caused catastrophic damage to the electricity network across the north-east of Scotland and is the most significant event we have ever had to deal with in the area in a generation.”
Many power lines were brought down by Storm Arwen. Credit: ITV Border
The scale of damage in some locations is said to be so extensive that in some cases, large sections of overhead lines will need to be rebuilt in order to restore supplies. Farmer Tracey Luck, who lives in County Durham, awoke to a row of toppled or damaged electricity poles. Her entire village of Bowes has been left without electricity.
‘I went to do the chickens and when I looked across the field I just saw one,’ Ms Luck said
Northern Powergrid is deploying temporary fixes that get customers back on supply while teams coordinate permanent repairs to get the region’s power network back to full strength, the company said.
“Intelligence from our helicopter inspections has illustrated the scale of impact on our network.
“The impact from Storm Arwen has been one of the worst we’ve experienced in the last 20 years,” Rod Gardner, Northern Powergrid incident manager, said.
Elsewhere, the severe weather brought by Storm Arwen buried a flock of Herdwick sheep in the Peak District under thick snow.
The snowdrifts were so deep, the animals’ owners had to dig them out by hand.
On Tuesday, ITV News Reporter Yasmin Bodalbhai reported on the dramatic rescue
Along with the man who died in Cumbria, two other people died after the storm lashed parts of the UK with high winds, rain and snow.
A 35-year-old man died after his pick-up truck was struck by a falling tree in Aberdeenshire on Friday.
The same day, a head teacher, and father-of-four, died after a tree fell onto his car in Antrim, a town in Northern Ireland.
Maghera father-of-four Francis Lagan was killed by a falling tree which crushed his car.
The 40-year-old primary principal was farewelled during a funeral service and burial at Saint Patrick’s Church, in Glen, Co Londonderry, on Tuesday.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he is “extremely sympathetic” to those impacted by the power outages.
Kwasi Kwarteng has said that teams have been working tirelessly to restore power in affected areas. Credit: PA
On Wednesday, making a statement in the Commons, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said the “overwhelming majority” of people would see power restored to their homes in “the next day or two”.
“The scale of the restoration effort engineers are facing is enormous,” Mr Kwarteng said.
“The weekend saw exceptionally strong winds… of almost 100mph which have brought large trees and debris down to power lines.”
He added: “For those who continue to be without power I know their primary question will be when will power be restored. “I have been assured that the overwhelming majority of those still without power today will be restored in the next day or two.
“Clearly, Storm Arwen was an event the likes of which we haven’t seen for certainly 60 years since the record starts. “We have to be prepared for similarly extreme difficult weather conditions in the future.
We have to make sure that our system is resilient in that eventuality.”
However, Labour MP Grahame Morris, whose constituency of Easington was battered by Arwen branded the government’s “performance” as “lamentable”, adding: There’s been a complete lack of planning and foresight.”
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