MORE than 200,000 Northern Powergrid customers have been affected by the impact of Storm Arwen since last night.

With windspeeds of up to 100mph, the firm is continuing to see significant damage to its power network as Storm Arwen continues to batter the region.

The storm force winds, which started at around 6pm yesterday, have caused power cuts for more than 219,000 customers, predominantly in the Northumberland, County Durham and Tyne and Wear area.

The storm continues to hit across the network company’s operating area with continued severe gales of more than 65mph forecast until around 6pm this evening.

The storm has already caused more than 530 instances of damage since 6pm yesterday, which will require repair. More than 110,000 customers’ power supplies have been successfully restored by 11.45am this morning.

Northern Powergrid said its teams are continually assessing the scale of the impact and repairs required, ensuring it responds to emergency situations throughout and prioritising its response to ensure that faults which will get the most possible customers back on supply are tackled first, as well as prioritising vulnerable customers.  

Continued gale force winds mean it is still remains unsafe for its teams to climb and repair any damage caused to overhead power lines mainly by fallen trees and flying debris. Travel in some areas is also proving very difficult and unsafe due to the ongoing weather conditions.

Rod Gardner, Northern Powergrid’s major incident manager, said: “Storm Arwen is continuing to cause significant disruption to our network and the storm force winds are not expected to ease until later today. 

 “Our engineers continue to do everything possible to assess the scale of the damage and prioritise the extensive repairs required. We have all our resources in place and our priority is to deal with emergency situations, support our customers and ensure our people can work safely as soon as the conditions allow.  

“Our contact centre is very busy and our website is experiencing issues due to the volume of customers using it. Our teams are doing everything possible to resolve this and we are continuing to provide updates on our social media channels which we encourage customers to share.

"Storm Arwen is the largest storm to impact our network since 2005 but our teams are experienced in responding in conditions like this. We thank our customers for their continued patience and would like to reassure them that we are doing all we can to get their power back on safely and as quickly as possible.”

Northern Powergrid’s 24-hour contact centre has additional advisors who are offering customers support and advice. Customers can also use their mobile to visit Northern Powergrid’s Twitter and Facebook pages where the company will continue to provide regular updates and advice to customers and local communities.