Storm Arwen: Thousands still without power in North East and North Yorkshire

Eleven thousand people across the North East and North Yorkshire are still without heating and electricity due to severe power outages caused by Storm Arwen.

High winds and heavy snow brought chaos to the region over the weekend - damaging the region's power network and leaving at its worst point almost a quarter of a million of people with no supply.

Northern Powergrid said 11,000 customers were without power as of Thursday, December 2. The electricity distributor has restored power to 229,000 of the 240,000 homes and business impacted by the storm.

Two thousand employees have been working night and day from both the field and behind the scenes.

Energy Minister Greg Hands visited County Durham on Wednesday, December 1, where outages remained widespread in some rural areas.

While in St John's Chapel, he was confronted by publican Terry Wood over the alleged inactivity of local authorities.

Mr Wood went on to say he was "absolutely appalled" by the the situation in County Durham.

"I’ve never seen anything like it," he said. "We’ve not seen the council. We’ve not seen social services. We’ve not seen anything."

Speaking to ITV Tyne Tees, the Energy Minister defended the government's response to the crisis.

The scale of damage in some locations was said to be so extensive that in some cases, large sections of overhead lines would need to be rebuilt in order to restore supplies.

Farmer Tracey Luck awoke to a row of toppled or damaged electricity poles.

Her entire village of Bowes has been left without electricity.

Northern Powergrid was deploying temporary fixes that get customers back on supply while teams coordinated permanent repairs to get the region’s power network back to full strength.

It was also urging people who spot any damaged cables or equipment to avoid approaching the area as equipment may still be live and pose a risk of electrocution.

People should contact the company immediately by calling 105.

Addressing the nation for Tuesday's COVID-19 briefing, Prime Minister Boris Johnson commented on the aftermath of Storm Arwen.

"I’m extremely sympathetic to everybody who’s suffered these power outages - it must be appalling," he said.

"One million homes lost electricity, 950,000 have seen that restored. But clearly for 50,000 people that is not good enough.

Power cut advice and tips from Northern Powergrid:

  • Turn off electrical appliances at the socket (this is particularly important for heating or cooking appliances as your power could be restored at any time and potentially cause a safety hazard)

  • Keep one light switched on so you know when power is restored

  • Keep a battery or wind-up torch handy – they’re much safer than candles

  • Have a charged mobile phone with important numbers, including Northern Powergrid’s contact details, easily accessible

  • Check on your elderly or sick neighbours and relatives

  • Ensure you have warm clothing and blankets handy and some food and drink in your home that does not require electricity to heat or prepare it

  • Only call 999 in the event of an emergency

After the Storm in pictures

A County Durham house encased in ice
A digger ploughs the road into Weardale
Credit: A Bowes farm blanketed by snow