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Storm Arwen: More than 10,000 homes still without power after ‘catastrophic damage’ to electricity networks

More than 10,000 homes across the UK are still without power due to the “catastrophic damage” caused by Storm Arwen a week ago.

Around 10,500 properties remain without electricity, but 99% of homes have now had their power restored, according to the latest figures from the Energy Networks Association (ENA).

As of 9am, more than one million homes have been affected by the damage to electricity networks.

“Power lines have been brought down and poles snapped in half. The energy networks have been responding to over 4,500 individual sites of damage across the country,” the ENA said.

“Snow, freezing conditions, high winds, blocked roads and complex, labour-intensive faults are making power restoration extremely challenging.”

In Scotland, parts of which have been particularly badly hit by Storm Arwen, a total of 1,600 Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) customers remained without power as of 7am.

Jim Savage, chief executive of Aberdeenshire Council, said SSEN told him it hopes to get the number of customers off power down to 1,000 on Friday, though some may not be reconnected until the weekend.

In a bid to help those who are still off supply, the army has deployed around 130 troops to carry out door-to-door checks and offer welfare support in the north-east of Scotland.

Aberdeenshire Council said in its area, the army will be based out of police stations in Ellon, Turriff, Inverurie and Banchory, with three teams of 10 at each.

Power has been restored to more than 129,000 SSEN customers since Storm Arwen first struck, causing what managing director Chris Burchell described as “catastrophic damage to the electricity network”.

The company said properties still without power are mainly located in rural and isolated communities, with Aberdeenshire the main area still affected.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “We are always ready to provide extra support to civil authorities across the UK in their time of need and it’s great to see units based in Scotland supporting their local communities.

“Our dedicated armed forces will conduct door-to-door checks on people in their homes, providing essential support to those impacted by Storm Arwen.”

In Durham, the county council has said around 100 servicemen and women will be based in Weardale to help local people.

It said the military help follows a request from County Durham and Darlington Local Resilience Forum (LRF) for additional resources.

Northern Powergrid, the electricity distribution network operator for the North East, Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire, said 6,000 customers remained off supply at 11pm on Thursday.

However, power has been restored to 234,000 others and teams have continued to work through the night and Friday morning.

John Hewitt, chairman of the LRF’s strategic coordinating group, said: “We are doing everything we can to support residents who are affected by the disruption to power supplies, from providing emergency supplies to simply checking in to make sure everything is OK.”

He added: “We are very grateful to the Ministry of Defence that they have approved our request for support and that we already have troops on the ground helping our communities.”

Durham County Council added that troops will also provide updates on work to restore the power supply and gather feedback on any issues of concern.

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