A Northumberland county councillor has disputed claims from Northern Powergrid that all customers who lost power supplies during Storm Arwen have had their electricity restored.

Labour leader Scott Dickinson, who represents the Druridge Bay ward on Northumberland County Council, was speaking after Northern Powergrid's announcement on Tuesday.

The company apologised for being unable to do the work quicker and described Arwen as "the worst storm in over 20 years."

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A statement did acknowledge that some people may remain off supply due to the scale of the storm and the damage it caused.

The statement read: "In such a large and complex event, it is possible that a customer remains off supply even though we believe we’re finished, for example if some damage remains that we don’t know about.

"If you are still without power, or you have a safety concern relating to our network, please let us know by calling our 24/7 team on 105."

Damaged power lines can be seen in a remote area of Teesdale on December 05, 2021 in Durham, England.
Storm Arwen damaged powerlines across the North East

It was also revealed that many customers are currently being supplied by generators.

The statement continued: "Many of our customers are currently being supplied by generators which will need to be removed as we complete the permanent repairs.

"We expect to be working well into the new year to bring our network back to full strength.

"Storm Barra was not the size or scale of Storm Arwen and did not cause major damage or disruption to our network. However, the extent of the damage caused by Storm Arwen means that it will take some time to put everything back to normal."

According to Cllr Dickinson, that is not good enough.

He said: "From what I've seen, that [the claim all customers are reconnected] is simply not true. I know an 83-year-old man who is connected to a generator that runs out of fuel every hour.

"If they think that is a solution to the issues, it's a joke.

Northumberland labour leader, Scott Dickinson
Northumberland labour leader, Scott Dickinson

"They're saying the proper repairs are going to take well into the new year, so old people and others are going to have to put up with sub-standard generators all the time? If that's the case it is ludicrous."

Cllr Dickinson also raised concerns about the infrastructure of the North East's electrical network - something also done by Northumberland County Council leader Glen Sanderson on BBC Breakfast yesterday.

Cllr Dickinson continued: "Any adverse weather, Northumberland is always affected with power cuts. If the network had been publicly run, millions of pounds would have been put into infrastructure investment.

"It's not been upgraded since World War II. It's not acceptable."

Northern Powergrid's statement also contained an admission of a need for improvement and praise for engineers who have been working hard to repair the network.

It read: "This experience has taught us that there are areas where we need to improve. In particular, in the way we use our systems to communicate with you in the event of major power cuts.

"We have already made some changes and will learn more lessons from the reviews that will follow.

"The performance of our team in repairing and rebuilding the network has been outstanding. Our dedicated colleagues have worked so hard in extremely challenging circumstances to contact our customers since the storm hit.

"The same is true of our colleagues who have worked with community partners to provide direct welfare support to our customers. Also, we are grateful to the other network companies and our contractors for their support – we could not have done it without them. It has been an enormous team effort."

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