Electricity engineers have restored power to around 800,000 homes and businesses affected as a result of the devastating damage by Storm Arwen.
193,000 homes remain without power as of 5pm this afternoon as thousands of engineers tackle damage three times greater than that experienced during the ‘Beast from the East’ storm in 2018, and the worst storm to affect power supplies in 15 years.
Challenges on the front line
In some parts of the country 25 days’ worth of faults have landed in just 24 hours prompting energy networks to draft in extra people, helicopters and drones from across the country.
Power lines have been brought down and poles snapped in half.
Snow, freezing conditions, high winds, blocked roads and complex, labour-intensive faults are making power restoration extremely challenging.
Engineering teams must first focus efforts on high voltage faults, allowing them to restore power to the greatest number of people. However, as these faults are fixed, further low voltage faults are being uncovered. These are proving challenging and taking teams significant periods of time to repair storm damage in isolated locations.
Ross Easton from Energy Networks Association, which represents the UK's electricity and gas network companies, said:
"It's set to be another difficult night for lots of customers, but engineers from across the country are working to restore power as quickly and safely as possible. Our members are working with local resilience partners, the British Red Cross and emergency services to provide extra help and support. Welfare centres have also been set up and dedicated teams are contacting vulnerable customers."
Advice to customers issued
The energy networks are advising customers who remain without power, particularly those in rural and isolated communities, that power will not be restored to everyone this weekend. Those without power should consider making alternative arrangements, such as staying with friends or family, where possible.
With customer phone lines extremely busy, customers are encouraged to only call in an emergency or if they need extra help, to keep the line clear for vulnerable customers who may need extra support.
If customers see a damaged power line or other damaged infrastructure then they should keep as far away from the hazard as possible and contact their network operator immediately by calling 105 for free. If there is an immediate risk to life or someone is in danger, they should call 999.
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 social media channels.
Energy network companies are working with emergency services, British Red Cross, Local Resilience Forums and multi-agency partners to provide extra help and support to customers who are without power.
About Energy Networks Association
Energy Networks Association (ENA) is the industry body representing the companies which operate 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 45,000 people in the UK and Ireland. They are represented by their industry body, Energy Networks Association (that's us).