Electricity providers on both sides of border criticised for Storm Arwen response by energy watchdog

Video report by Fiona Marley Paterson

Electricity companies on both sides of the border have been strongly criticised for their "unacceptable" response to Storm Arwen in December.

Around a million people were affected nationwide when high winds hit the country, with much of the damage in Cumbria and the South of Scotland.

In its report the energy regulator, Ofgem, concluded it is completely unacceptable that 4,000 customers were without power for a week and almost all received an unacceptable service.

It says customers, like Carole and David Sales remained without power for too long, with poor communication.

The pair were left in the dark for five days.

In response to the report, David told ITV Border: "Their network information systems were inaccurate.

"Our neighbours were getting conflicting information that didn't coincide with ours so we were all talking to each other trying to work out what we needed to do next to survive that time.

"We would have taken different steps like moving in with our family who did have power."

Carole added: "And emptying the freezer sooner as well."

David continued to criticise the lack of information: "If you know this at day one, you can dash to the shops to get food and supplies, you can get batteries, you can set up other mechanisms to ensure that people keep in touch with you to make sure you're alright.

"So it really is all about the planning phase.

"If you know you're in it for the long-haul you need to take the steps to protect yourselves and manage your problems."

Electricity North West paid out over £4million in compensation but Ofgem criticised all providers for taking too long to pay out. 

The energy watchdog said emergency plans for all providers were not sufficient to deal with the storm that hit.

It also found power networks may not have been maintained sufficiently and that left it more vulnerable to the strong winds.

Ofgem warned extreme weather is only set to increase so it's important the industry responds better in the future.