Storm Arwen: Thousands still without power six days after the storm

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Six days after Storm Arwen, thousands of people are still without electricity in Scotland and northern England.

About 19,500 households do not have electricity, Downing Street said, but most were expected to be restored by weekends.

About 120 military personnel were recruited to support the reconstruction efforts in Aberdeenshire.

Three people died when the storm caused strong winds and cold weather on Friday.

The prime minister’s official spokesman said 7,949 households had electricity since Wednesday, meaning that 98% of the 950,000 originally affected households now had electricity.

He said number 10 is in “hourly contact” with network operators and is working urgently to ensure that welfare and shelter are provided to those in need.

In some cases, energy suppliers have found emergency shelters and provided generators and food carriers to support communities without electricity.

However, some residents have criticized public services for “regretting” communication and felt “forgotten.”

Sara Stanley from Medburn in Northumberland told BBC News that she had been without power until Tuesday when a generator was deployed for her property due to pressure from residents.

“It was a little dark,” he said. “I tested positive for Covid last Friday, so I didn’t feel good at all, and besides, the cold was not so good.”

She said the first trip had been to go to a hotel or stay with relatives, but she couldn’t self-isolate.

Without the generator, he said he was “probably in the hospital because he was having trouble breathing the way he was.”

Clare Pennington of Newtyle in Angus said she was without electricity on her sixth day and was living in a static house because she was building a house.

She told the PA news agency that she felt “completely forgotten.”

“It was very cold last night; it was too cold to sleep,” he said. “We haven’t even planned for someone to assess the situation, so it could be next week until we return to power.”

Tony and Nicola Hills of Kirkby Lonsdale, Cumbria, had to move because they and their five children “struggled to stay warm, wash and feed properly.”

In a letter to his MP, Mr. Hills described ENWL’s call centers and IT systems as “woefully inadequate” and added that he had received a text claiming they had been reconnected even though they didn’t.

Northern Powergrid said 11,000 properties were still from power outages, but engineers would have restored supplies to 229,000 customers.

Electricity North West (ENWL) said power was restored to all but about 3,000 properties, mainly in Cumbria, at 10:10 GMT on Thursday.

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) said 3,100 customers were left without power after what they described as a “one-off event.”

On Wednesday, the last homes in Wales that did not have electricity after the storm were reconnected.

Stephanie Trubshaw, incident manager and chief customer officer at ENWL, said that Storm Arwen was “the most damaging storm the north-west has experienced in this century and in the UK since 1987, in terms of damage to the network.”

She said the company made significant strides overnight and will use more resources in Cumbria to restore power.

The company said emergency shelters had been found for up to 300 people in the county, while food carriers and community centers continued to provide hot drinks, food, and charging stations.

Jim Cardwell of Northern Powergrid said he wouldn’t restore all supplies by the weekend, especially in more remote areas.

SSEN said it plans to reconnect all customers on Friday, but some small properties would not be able to return to business until Saturday.

Most customers have reconnected in the south of Scotland, but there are still problems.

Scottish Power Energy Networks (SPEN) apologized to anyone who did not have electricity for the sixth night.

Energy regulator Ofgem has announced that it will study the speed of energy companies’ responses and the resilience of the UK power grid in extreme weather conditions.

Environment Minister in the Shadow of Labour, Jim McMahon, said the government has “largely abandoned” those without power, especially in rural and remote areas. He called on the government to “ensure that there is resilient infrastructure across the country to withstand the most severe storms.”

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