Pensioner left 'in despair' and unable to cook hot meal after three days without power

Video report by ITV News Meridian's Christine Alsford.

An elderly woman from East Hampshire says she's been left in despair, unable to even make a cup of tea after being without power since Saturday.

Annabel Holmes is one of around 4,400 people who has been cut off since Storm Eunice arrived on Friday - the worst storm to hit the south in more than 30 years.

Engineers from SSE say the arrival of Storm Franklin is hampering recovery efforts, but has managed to restore power to 180,000 homes.

Annabel, who lives in Bramshott has told ITV Meridian she doesn't know how she will cope if her power isn't restored soon.

"I only have electricity, I have no gas so I can't cook.

"Once the evening comes, I can't see anything apart from using my torch and candles.

"On Saturday night I went to bed with all my clothes on as I was freezing, and I can't heat anything up. I can't even have a hot cup of coffee, nothing.

"I spent the whole day on Sunday in despair so luckily a friend offered me supper and a bed for the night. I stayed there overnight, but I had to come back this morning for the cat.

"I'm in despair once again as it's freezing cold in this house.

"It's not good to be cold for such a long time. I think it's unacceptable in 2022, we shouldn't have to put up with this."

"I feel really miserable", Annabel says

Engineers say Storm Franklin has led to new faults, and fallen trees and damage on power lines is restricting access.

UK Power Networks and Scottish and Southern is offering compensation for customers who've had a power cut for 24 hours or more, as engineers struggle to restore power amid Storm Franklin.

Richard Gough, Director of Distribution System Operations, said: “The hurricane-force winds of Storm Eunice have resulted in some of the most extreme and challenging conditions experienced in the south of England for decades, with significant impact on our overhead line network.

"I would like to apologise to our customers for the continued disruption as our teams work around the clock to restore power.

“I’d also like to recognise our teams in the field and in our control and customer centres, who are doing a brilliant job in very difficult conditions and stand ready to respond to the impact of Storm Franklin, while prioritising restoring customers who have been without power longest.

“We fully appreciate the issues being faced by customers who have been without power since the start of Storm Eunice and as our teams work hard to reconnect the remaining homes, we are actively encouraging all customers who we expect to remain off supply for an extended period to take advantage of our enhanced welfare offer.”

In Liphook, many residents reported having two power cuts - one on Saturday afternoon and another on Sunday evening.

Resident Rupert Town-Jones said: "This is a time when villagers come together and are all offering facilities as the whole of the village wasn't affected.

"Some were far worse than others, but we carried on."

Another resident said: "We were left with no power from 2pm until 7pm on Saturday. It wasn't so bad in the daylight, but wasn't very nice in the dark.

"Once it started getting dark, that's when you really felt it. We were scrambling around for candles and torches, and we were worried for the rest of the night.

"Fortunately the lights came back on at the right time which was good. It was a relief.

"But then they went out again last night."

SSEN is working to get the majority of customers' power back on by the end of Monday (21 February).

Duncan McDonald, SSEN

Duncan McDonald, a spokesperson for SSEN said: "We're doing everything we can, and we've got tree cutters helping us clear trees away from lines that have come down.

"We're able to use technology to switch around the network supplies. Storm Eunice brought around 1,000 points of damage to different parts of our network, which is 100 times more than an average day.

"It is a really challenging and a really complex situation, but we are doing as much as we can to get our customers' supplies back on."