Teams of engineers are ready to scramble into action to fix any power outages as Storm Aileen prepares to batter the North East.
The Met Office has issued weather warnings for wind and rain as Storm Aileen, with the Highways Agency also issuing amber warnings over stretches of the A1 and 19 as the severe conditions approach.
Northern Powergrid, the company responsible for the network which delivers electricity to homes and businesses across the region, is assuring its customers that it is prepared should this evening’s forecasted severe gales affect its network.
The weather is expected to hit across Northern Powergrid’s operating area from this evening with severe gales and heavy rain expected until around 10am on Wednesday morning. Current forecasts are indicating potential gusts of up to 75 mph in some areas.
Rod Gardner, Northern Powergrid’s head of network operations, said: “We’re monitoring the weather very closely and have already taken action to ensure that we have extra engineers ready to restore power and repair any damage to our network caused by Storm Aileen.
“We are also ready with additional advisors at our local 24-hour contact centre – who can be reached by calling the free 105 power cut number - as well as teams in other locations around our business who will be ready to offer our customers support and advice.
“Our website, northernpowergrid.com, has an easy-to-use power cut map and reporting service which our customers can use to report a power cut and get updates about what we’re doing to get their lights back on.
“We would encourage customers to take a few minutes to add 105 and bookmark our website on their mobile phones so they are ready to use our services if they need to. They may also want to watch our short and informative videos, which will help them know exactly what to do if they do have a power cut.”
Northern Powergrid’s 24/7 Twitter (@northpowergrid) and Facebook pages will also provide regular updates and advice to customers and local communities.
The electricity distribution company, which manages a network of 63,000 substations and more than 60,000 miles of overhead power lines and underground cables, will deploy all available resources as necessary to deal with any potential damage caused.
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, will be kept updated as a priority. Anyone interested in joining the Priority Services Register can sign up online via Northern Powergrid’s website or call the electricity distributor’s Powergrid Care team on 0800 169 2996.
Northern Powergrid is also ready to use its customer support vehicles, wherever possible, 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.
Northern Powergrid is urging anyone who spots any damaged cables or other equipment not to approach the area, but to report it immediately by calling 105 the free, easy-to-remember national phone line which will route people to Northern Powergrid.