Energy Networks Association confirmed that more than 82,000 calls a day have been handled by energy network operators since the start of the storm, with over 16,000 calls being managed per hour at peak times.
These figures account for calls received to the free 105 telephone line since Friday (26 November). The line generally receives around 50-65% of calls with the remainder of customer calls made directly to their network operator. Calling 105 in Great Britain is free and connects customers to their local network operator directly.
The networks have deployed additional support to bolster teams, prioritise customers without power and reduce call waiting times. Network operators from other parts of the country and other utility companies are also supporting with customer service call answering.
Customer service teams are working around the clock to respond to enquiries by phone and on social media, with dedicated teams contacting vulnerable customers proactively. There has been an uplift of more than 300%* in calls to the free 105 line at points during the emergency and one network operator has handled two months' worth of calls in three days.
Whilst energy networks have reconnected 97% of homes affected by power outages, damage from Storm Arwen continues to disrupt power to around 27,000 customers this afternoon (5pm on Wednesday 1 December). The vast majority of homes will be reconnected by the end of the week.
Welfare centres and hot food are being provided to customers without power, with the energy network companies working in partnership with local resilience forums, emergency services, local authorities and the British Red Cross.
Support from across the United Kingdom
Thousands of engineers are working to get power back on as quickly and safely as possible, with those who have worked in the field for over forty years stressing this is the worst storm devastation they’ve seen.
Hundreds of engineers have been deployed from the south of England, Isle of Man and Northern Ireland. Engineers from NIE Networks in Northern Ireland travelled by ferry before driving hundreds of miles in very difficult conditions to reach customers across Great Britain.
Ciaran Donnelly is a technician from NIE Networks. He is one of hundreds of engineers sent from across the UK to help reconnect customers. Ciaran said:
“Reconnecting customers is a mammoth task. In many cases, we are having difficulty gaining access to power lines as we are hampered by fallen trees and debris. It’s very cold and we know how distressing it can be for customers to be without electricity supply for a prolonged period so we are keen to help our GB colleagues restore power as soon as possible."
Alan Hall, Incident Manager at NIE Networks said:
“We wanted to offer assistance, to help the energy networks get the power back on for their customers as safely and as quickly as possible and complete any necessary repairs to the network. At NIE Networks we understand the importance of mutual aid following this type of weather so were keen to help where possible."
Ross Easton, Director at Energy Networks Association, which represents companies operating the power networks, said:
“As the cold weather continues, our absolute priority continues to be supporting and reconnecting customers over the coming days. Our teams are working flat out. Welfare centres and hot food are being provided, with the energy network companies working in partnership with local resilience forums, emergency services, local authorities and the British Red Cross.
“Since the storm commenced there has been a mammoth effort from thousands of engineers and support staff, deploying equipment like mobile generators and teams of people from across the country to restore power to as many people as quickly and safely as possible.”
Notes to editor
- Storm Arwen has been one of the most damaging storms experienced in a generation, with some areas experiencing 25 days’ worth of faults, such as snapped electricity poles and downed wires, in the space of 24 hours. Areas such as the Wye Valley, North Peak district, the South Lake areas, Aberdeenshire and Perthshire have been particularly badly affected.
- Network companies are bringing in mobile power generators to the most adversely impacted areas. These are being deployed from across the country to reconnect customers quicker.
- Customers who remain without power should consider making alternative arrangements and staying with friends or family where possible.
* From 2243 calls on Friday 26th November 17:00 to 9955 calls on Saturday 27th November 17:00 = an uplift of 344%.
Photos attached for release.
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 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.