Thousands still without heating and hot water as UK braces for Storm Barra

Storm Arwen left around one million households without power when it first hit.

Pa Reporters
Monday 06 December 2021 08:23
Gale force winds are expected throughout England and Wales as the UK braces for Storm Barra (PA)
Gale force winds are expected throughout England and Wales as the UK braces for Storm Barra (PA)

Thousands of people are still without heating and hot water as the UK braces itself for Storm Barra

It comes after Storm Arwen affected power supplies to more than one million households 10 days ago.

The Energy Networks Association (ENA) said that 3,190 homes were still waiting to be reconnected as of 2pm on Sunday. This was down from 4,025 homes on Sunday morning.

(PA Graphics)

The majority of the affected homes are in the north east of England the ENA said.

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) said power had been restored to all 135,000 of its affected customers by Sunday evening.

Storm Barra will hit on Tuesday, following on from wet and windy weather on Sunday night and throughout Monday, the Met Office said.

While the west of Ireland will receive the worst of the storm, yellow wind weather warnings are in place across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Yellow snow warnings are also in place in southern and western Scotland.

Met Office meteorologist Simon Partridge warned that gale force winds of 45-50mph on Tuesday and into Wednesday would not make it “easier” for those trying to reconnect the remaining homes.

“It’s certainly not going to aid things with those sorts of wind strengths, and a mixture of rain and snow in there as well,” he said.

“It’s not going to make working conditions any easier for those out and about.”

A spokesperson for the ENA said that operators were “working together” to prepare for the storm.

“Energy network operators are working together to prepare for the developing Storm Barra,” he said.

“We’re monitoring forecasts regularly, coordinating response plans and preparing to share resources if required.”

Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng visited the North East on Sunday to survey the damage done by the storm.

Thousands of people have been without power for more than a week following Storm Arwen (Jane Barlow/PA)

During a visit to a Northern Powergrid call centre in Penshaw, near Sunderland, Mr Kwarteng told the PA news agency: “I think we can make the system a lot more resilient.

“I had an experience on August 9 2019 when a million people in the South East were commuting and they had a power outage.

“Immediately after that we had a review and we looked at the system and we held the transport and train companies’ feet to the fire and we have got a more resilient system.

“That’s exactly what I want to happen this time.

“We will have a review, we will see if the distributor companies have enough infrastructure, we may even have enforcement action if necessary.”

Boris Johnson said he had held calls with those leading the response to Storm Arwen (Ministry of Defence/PA)

Speaking at the call centre, Mr Kwarteng said: “I don’t accept that (the power cuts would have been resolved quicker in the South).

“The physical infrastructure, layout and landscape is very different.

“One of the particular reasons why we haven’t got people back on the power supply is the weather conditions and they are very challenging (with) people in sparsely populated, very rural areas and that represents a challenge.”

On Saturday, Boris Johnson said he had held calls with those leading the response to Storm Arwen and the Government was ready to further support the recovery work “in any way we can”.

The long delays have prompted energy regulator Ofgem to warn it will take enforcement action against network companies who failed to restore power to customers quickly enough.

It has also agreed with firms to lift the £700 cap on compensation which could be offered to those stuck without power.

The change will allow those affected to claim £70 for each 12-hour period they have no electricity, after an initial £70 for the first 48 hours of any cut.

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