The freezing rain and severe gales that hit electricity distributor Northern Powergrid's network from early yesterday afternoon (Saturday, December 15) into the late evening caused ice to stick to overhead lines, and brought down trees and branches causing further damage, predominantly in Northumberland, County Durham and the Yorkshire Dales.
The company said treacherous road conditions in some rural areas made accessing the faults to facilitate repairs challenging, yet, where safe to do so, engineers worked overnight to restore supplies to all but 1,000 of the 21,000 affected customers. Around 19,400 customers were affected in the company's Northumberland and County Durham zone.
Work continued to restore power to these customers from first light today (Sunday, December 16). Northern Powergrid remained in touch with the affected customers, providing support where required.
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The teams worked as quickly and as safely as possible, and despite ongoing access issues and multiple faults on some longer sections of our network, all outstanding faults are resourced with specialist vehicles so that we can restore the remaining customers tonight.
Paul Simpkin, Northern Powergrid's network operations manager, said: "Storm Deirdre caused some treacherous conditions in the more rural areas of our network, making access to some areas more challenging than others, particularly on high ground. Our teams will continue to work tirelessly until the last of our customers affected by the storm have their lights back on.
“We would like to thank the 21,000 customers affected for their patience and understanding while we repaired the damage caused by Storm Deirdre.”
Northern Powergrid successfully restored power to customers by switching electricity supplies, where possible, through alternative routes on its network, while hundreds of engineers worked day and night to repair the damage on the overhead network caused by the ice and winds experienced over the weekend.