Power restored at Doddington Dairy - 11 days after Storm Arwen
A successful family-run dairy near Wooler has finally had power restored, 11 days after the area was battered by Storm Arwen.
Doddington Dairy, run by Neill and Jackie Maxwell, along with Neill’s sister Margaret-Ann, makes luxury ice cream and farmhouse cheeses.
However, after power lines were brought down by gale force winds last Friday, the business has been unable to produce anything, although it has managed to continue milking.
Northern Powergrid is still battling to restore electricity to hundreds of properties in Northumberland, and ongoing wild weather is hampering its efforts.
Frustrated staff at the award-winning dairy posted a tweet urging MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan to intervene, saying: “Can you help @annietrev? Are you able to let us know when we might get power at Doddington please? Is there any help for businesses in Northumberland without power on? #day11”
It also expressed its frustration at being given false hope by Northern Powergrid that power is due to be restored: “We are struggling to understand when we will get power which hinders our planning. We understand that it is difficult on the ground @Northpowergrid, but keeping telling us the power is coming back on when it isn’t is difficult!”
Engineers from Northern Powergrid managed to reconnect the electricity on Monday.
Jackie said: "We’re thrilled and relieved that it’s back on and would like to thank everyone on the ground for making it happen.
"We have lost production for a week, but now we are focusing on getting orders out. It’s a busy time of year for us, so we need to be able to plan and get our business working normally again.”
The dairy has managed to produce some electricity with a tractor-powered generator. But when it asked Northern Powergrid for more, it was told generators should form part of the dairy’s “resilience planning” and it was unable to provide any.
"It’s just so frustrating,” she added.
"We would have invested in more generators last week if we had known it was going to go on for this long.
"We understand that living up here things are not going to happen in hours but it would have been useful if we had known it would be a longer period of time rather than being told on a daily basis that it would be back on soon.”