Northern Powergrid, the company responsible for running the electricity network across the North East, is assuring its customers that it is prepared should the weather affect its network following Met Office warnings of severe weather, including gale force winds.
Strong winds are expected to hit the region tonight and again later on Thursday and parts of Northumberland (NE66 and NE67 postcodes) have endured power outages this afternoon.
Northern Powergrid says it is closely monitoring the weather and has extra engineers prepared to restore power and repair any damage to power lines. The network operator also has additional advisors at its local 24-hour contact centre as well as teams in other locations around the business who are ready to offer customers support and advice.
The website, northernpowergrid.com, has an easy-to-use power cut checker that is regularly updated. Its Twitter (@northpowergrid) and Facebook pages also provide regular updates and advice to customers and local communities.
The company, which manages a network of 61,000 substations and more than 91,000km of overhead power lines and underground cables, will deploy all available resources as necessary to deal with any damage caused. If this impacts on any new connections work or scheduled appointments, affected customers will be contacted directly regarding any changes.
Customers with a disability, medical condition or very young families, who may need greater assistance during a power cut and have signed up to the company’s Priority Services Register, are kept updated as a priority.
Northern Powergrid is also ready to use its customer support vehicles during any potential prolonged power cut to help local communities by offering practical support such as stay-warm packs and hot drinks.
Its partnership with the British Red Cross will also help provide additional care to customers on the register, when necessary. Anyone interested in joining the Priority Services Register can sign up online via Northern Powergrid’s website or call 0800 169 2996.
Northern Powergrid is urging anyone who spots any damaged cables or other equipment not to approach the area, but to contact the company immediately on its 24-hour power cut inquiry numbers. People in the North East should call 0800 668877 or 0330 123 0877 by mobile.
The company has also issued power-cut advice and tips include. These include:
* turn off electrical appliances at the socket
* keep one light switched on so you know when power is restored
* keep a battery or wind-up torch handy – they’re much safer than candles
* have a charged mobile phone with important numbers, including Northern Powergrid’s contact details, easily accessible
* check on your elderly or sick neighbours and relatives
* ensure you have a warm clothing and blankets handy and some food and drink in your home that does not require electricity to heat or prepare it
* only call 999 in the event of an emergency.