Storm Arwen: Army deployed as thousands endure seventh day without power

3 December 2021, 15:46 | Updated: 3 December 2021, 15:55

By James Morris

The Army has been deployed to help the thousands of people still without power a week after Storm Arwen caused "catastrophic damage" to the electricity network.

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More than 10,000 households, mainly in the North East and Scotland, remained without power this afternoon.

In County Durham, 100 troops have been deployed in Weardale, while 130 have been sent to the north-east of Scotland. They have been carrying out door-to-door checks and offering welfare support.

But cafe owner Sarah Langan, from Upper Weardale, told LBC the help has arrived too late.

Members of the armed forces in Weardale today carrying care packs containing hot water bottles, hats, blankets, gloves and thermal socks.
Members of the armed forces in Weardale today carrying care packs containing hot water bottles, hats, blankets, gloves and thermal socks. Picture: Alamy

“We were knocking on doors and making sure people were alright before anybody came to help.

“There has been lots of vulnerable people in this area. We’ve had to check on them because nobody else has.”

Elsewhere in County Durham, Jessica Teasdale, from Stanley, told PA of the toll of seven days without heating and cleaning facilities: "People are frustrated and angry… everyone is getting ill.

"I saw my elderly neighbour yesterday, the poor man looked like he was going to cry. He's a vulnerable person but no-one has checked on him and he lives alone."

Members of the armed forces check on overhead power cables in Weardale.
Members of the armed forces check on overhead power cables in Weardale. Picture: Alamy

Bill Easton, who lives in Inchmarlo, Aberdeenshire, said he keeps getting updates which tell him power will return imminently – only for them to be wrong.

He said: "I'd rather them tell the truth and say it was out of service rather than 'coming on at 12', then not coming on."

He added power in the home is "something you take for granted," saying it's "second nature" to flick a switch and expect the lights to turn on.

Earlier today, Ofgem announced people left without power due to Storm Arwen will be able to claim £140 a day in compensation.

The regulator has also launched a review into the response of energy network companies to the crisis.

Jonathan Brearley, Ofgem's chief executive, said: "We have strict rules on how network companies need to operate in these circumstances, and we will take action if needed."

He added of the ongoing work to restore power to homes: "We accept the network companies have been working in challenging conditions, but until every home in Britain has power restored, that relentless effort must continue."