Northern Powergrid, responsible for the network that delivers electricity to homes and businesses across the North East, is prepared if Storm Ali affects its power network.
The Met Office has issued amber and yellow weather warnings for strong winds of up to 65mph across Northern Powergrid’s North East of England operating area today (Wednesday) with potential gusts of up to 75mph forecast for North and West Northumberland.
There is also potential for a further low pressure system affecting the UK on Sunday which the electricity network operator is tracking. Should the Met Office forecast any further deterioration in conditions Northern Powergrid will extend its preparations into the weekend.
Rod Gardner, Northern Powergrid's head of network operations, said: "We’ve been monitoring the weather very closely over the last few days and have taken action to ensure that we have extra engineers ready to restore power and carry out repairs if there is any disruption or damage to our network as a result of the forecast weather across today and into tonight.
“We’re also ready with additional staff at our local 24-hour control, dispatch and contact centre, which 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. Also by adding 105 and bookmarking our online power cut map on your mobile phones and following us on social media, our customers can be ready if they need us. We’ve been actively sharing videos and information across our social media pages over recent days so people 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. 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.