Thousands of homes face second week without power and second storm

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The Energy Secretary said it was ‘completely unacceptable’ that thousands of people remained without power for more than a week after Hurricane Arwen.

About 4,025 homes, mostly in the Northeast, were still waiting to be reconnected to the grid at 8am on Sunday, according to the Energy Network Association (ENA).

Kwasi Kwarteng visited Durham to survey some of the damage caused by the storm and told the BBC: ‘I fully accept that this is completely unacceptable.

‘People being without power for such a long time is wrong and harmful. That’s why I’m here to make sure we get everyone back as quickly as possible.

‘Like I said, for 99.5% of people they’ve come back, but for those who are still suffering from this it’s unacceptable.’

He added that engineers had been working in freezing conditions to restore the power supply.

Speaking in Penshaw, near Sunderland, after visiting crews working in Weardale, County Durham, Mr Kwarteng said: ‘There are very difficult conditions.

‘There was a lot of ice, sleet, snow and it was very difficult for engineers to get ready and ready for critical infrastructure.

‘Some communications were not brilliant. It’s very difficult at a hub or hub like this to know what’s happening on the ground, but I think that’s improving.

‘I think the engineers are doing a great job, we’ve also got the Army out and they’re all rallying very efficiently but still a few hundred people are still without power and I think that’s real unacceptable.’

Energy Minister Kwasi Kwarteng said intermittent power cuts were ‘completely unacceptable’ (Image: PA)
Trooper Josh Harvey from the Royal Lancers carries a welfare box (Image: Getty)
Power cables are being repaired in a remote area of ​​Teesdale (Image: Getty)
Craftsman Emily Heavisive (left) and Trooper Josh Harvey perform a welfare check on a remote site that still has no electricity (Image: Getty)

He added that a review would be carried out and that if energy companies were found not to have invested in infrastructure ‘enforceable action could be taken’.

It comes as much of the UK has been warned of potentially dangerous winds to hit on Tuesday.

A yellow wind warning is in place across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and a yellow snow warning is in place for Southern and Western Scotland.

On Saturday, gusts of 35 to 50 mph hit the country overnight, with temperatures plummeting below zero in parts of Scotland.

As well as weather warnings, the Met Office predicts more wet and windy weather to come next week, with continued bad weather conditions in areas already affected by Cyclone Arwen. .

Cyclone Barra has been dubbed the UK’s strong winds (Image: Met Office)

Met Office meteorologist Rachel Ayers said: ‘Today will be a relatively nice day, but tonight it will be windy. Temperatures, covered by wind and clouds, should be around tonight.

‘That should help a little bit with things, but we are expecting some more changeable and unsettled weather.

‘This unsettled weather won’t help areas that have been impacted too much by Hurricane Arwen.’

Stewart Sexton, from Alnwick in Northumberland, lost power on the 10th day.

The 57-year-old said: ‘We confirmed yesterday that the match will take place today.

‘NPG (Northern Powergrid) even called us back to say yes, confirmed, back on Thursday.

‘However, here today it is blowing 40mph accompanied by rain so confirmation is highly unlikely, if not impossible. “

Several thousand people in the Northeast are still without power more than a week after Hurricane Arwen (Image: Getty)
As the area faces another set of wet and windy conditions, the military is conducting a welfare check on affected residents (Image: Getty)

The Department of Defense said 297 personnel from the British Army and Royal Marines were still assisting civilian agencies and conducting door-to-door checks of vulnerable people on Sunday morning.

On Saturday, Boris Johnson said he had held calls with those leading the response to Hurricane Arwen and that the Government stood ready to further support the recovery work ‘in any way possible’.

The lengthy delays have prompted energy regulator Ofgem to warn that it will take enforcement action against network companies that fail to restore electricity to customers quickly enough.

It has also agreed with companies to lift the £700 limit on compensation that can be offered to people stranded without electricity.

The change will allow affected people to claim £70 for every 12-hour period in which they are without power, which is £70 initially for the first 48 hours of any cuts.

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Huynh Nguyen

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