“Unacceptable service” by power networks after storm Arwen

Power grids provided “unacceptable service” to thousands of customers following Storm Arwen, which left nearly a million homes without power, industry watchdog Ofgem said.

100mph winds caused widespread disruption, uprooting trees and damaging power lines, cutting power supplies from November 26 when the storm hit northern England and Scotland.

In some areas, power outages lasted more than 10 days in some areas and customers complained of poor communication from their providers about when they would be reconnected.

A household in Fence contacted the Lancashire Telegraph after being left without power for 63 hours due to the storm.

READ MORE: Storm Arwen: Homes in Fence without power for 63 hours

Jim Gardener, 70, who lives in Fence, said he and other households in Newchurch, Roughlee and Spen Brook were without power all weekend during the storm.

Although they reported the outage several times, each time they called they were told there was no log of the incident.

Northern Powergrid, Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks and Electricity North West paid nearly £30m in compensation to affected customers after the storm and agreed to pay a further £10.3m in “repair payments”, Ofgem said.

Ofgem carried out an independent review of the industry, focusing on whether the power outages could have been avoided, whether correct and timely information was provided to affected customers, whether power was restored quickly enough and how customers were supported after the storm, including compensation payments.

If found, distribution network operator staff worked hard under difficult conditions but concluded that thousands of customers were receiving “unacceptable service”.

Ofgem’s chief executive, Jonathan Brearley, said: “Distribution network businesses faced difficult conditions following Storm Arwen, and I pay tribute to the many colleagues in these businesses who have supported customers. and worked to get them back to market as quickly as possible.

“However, it was unacceptable that nearly 4,000 homes in parts of England and Scotland had been out of power for more than a week, often without clear information on when power would be restored.

“Network companies need to do better, not only to prevent power outages, but also to ensure that when power goes out, they work smarter to get people back on faster and keep customers informed. with accurate and timely information. It’s the least customers can expect.

“The frequency of extreme weather events is only going to increase, so it’s really important that the industry, and more broadly those involved, learn from Storm Arwen to better respond in the future.”

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