Electricity network operator launches review into Storm Arwen

Electricity North West, the Stockport-based power network operator, has announced a full review into Storm Arwen with particular focus on supporting local communities in future events.

Storm Arwen brought snow, ice and wind speeds over 65mph for many hours which caused extensive damage to the electricity network, as well as causing access issues with snow drifts and hundreds of fallen trees.

Across the UK more than a million people were affected by power cuts, with 100,000 in the North West.

Launching its review Electricity North West has said that it wants to work with local communities to understand their needs to help reduce the impact of future extreme events.

Electricity North West customer director, Steph Trubshaw, said: “We were amazed by the level of community support shown when Storm Arwen battered the country at the end of last month. We want to continue to work with these communities and incredible organisations, many of whom are voluntary, to understand what we can do to help in future.

“Being without power for a long period is incredibly difficult and while our engineers did all they could battling conditions day after day, it was these local community hubs and organisations that were critical to keeping local people going in the areas hardest hit.

“The town halls, churches and other community buildings and centres played a crucial role in the incident response and we want to make sure that we continue to support them.”

The network operator says it will work with these local groups to detail specific help in the new year as part of its review.

Steph Trubshaw added: “We think that our support could extend to a local community fund to which organisations can apply for resources to support communities in such events if they happen again. We want to hear from these groups and individuals to learn what would be most valuable to them so that we can develop the fund to deliver the right help in the right locations.”

Any fund created by Electricity North West would be in addition to compensation payments being paid to customers who were without electricity for more than 48 hours. Payments to customers following storms are set nationally by energy regulator Ofgem, depending on the severity of the incident.

Storm Arwen has been classed as a ‘category 2’ storm, meaning customers are eligible for payments of £70 if they have been without power for 48 hours, plus a further £70 for each additional 12-hour period that they are off supply.

Electricity North West will reach out to anyone it worked with through the Local Resilience Forums but if anyone wants to respond direct then they are asked to email StormArwen@enwl.co.uk.

The results of the review will be published in the new year.

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