Northern Powergrid aiming to improve household resilience to power line damage

Storm damage near Craster.Storm damage near Craster.
Storm damage near Craster.
Northern Powergrid is exploring ways of making households more resilient to power lines damage.

Iain Miller, head of innovation at Northern Powergrid, attended a public meeting organised by Craster Parish Council to discuss the fallout from Storm Arwen.

"We do listen and we do look at what happened and we do try and learn and respond and we will be doing the same with this event.

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"Whether it’s an inquiry and forced on us externally or not, we will be doing it internally anyway.”

He said the company was working hard to develop micro-resilience in local communities.

"It’s about seeing how we can keep LV or low voltage supplies in people’s homes after the high voltage lines have come down,” he explained.

He said they were ‘a number of years away from being able to do that’ but work was continuing to see how it might be done and funded ‘preferably at zero cost to customers’.

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Northumberland County Council leader Glen Sanderson said it had been the most difficult period in his 30 years as a county councillor and repeated his calls for a public inquiry into the storm response.

"I am not going to criticise Powergrid now but what I’ve asked for is a full inquiry as soon as possible and look at this while the iron is still hot,” he said.

"That will not be the opportunity to bash or criticise but to challenge the top brass at Powergrid and ask them, for example, why they weren’t better prepared for this kind of emergency? Why don’t they have a stock of 10,000 generators? Why don’t they have clarity of what the infrastructure is? I’ve heard it over and over again that a lot of the wires and poles are not in the greatest condition.

"What I would say is that the Powergrid guys on the ground were simply fantastic, along with people at the council and volunteers, but there are things that went badly wrong and that’s why I want this inquiry to make sure we challenge Powergrid very strongly and if investment is needed that we put pressure on government and them to do that.”