About 1,600 homes are still without power 10 days after Storm Arwen, with forecasters warning of more bad weather hitting the UK in the next 24 hours.
In its most recent update, the Energy Networks Association said it had reconnected 99% of the properties which lost power due to damage caused by Storm Arwen but a number of homes mostly in the North East were still without electricity.
The industry body said: “Over one million homes have been affected by storm damage to the power network and more than 99% of homes have been reconnected.
“Some homes in the area served by Northern Powergrid remain without power.”
It comes as yet another storm – named Barra by the Irish Met Office – is expected to hit the UK on Tuesday.
A red warning for winds over 50mph and gusts exceeding 80mph is now in place for Cork and Kerry in Ireland. Orange and yellow warnings have been issued for other areas of the Republic.
In its latest update at 9pm on Sunday, Northern Powergrid said the number still affected as a result of Storm Arwen was “down to 1,600”.
The company said it remains “hopeful” that the work “we have in front of us” will be completed on Monday or Tuesday.
Gale force winds and snow
While the west of Ireland will receive the worst of the storm, yellow wind weather warnings are in place across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Yellow snow warnings are also in place in southern and western Scotland.
Forecasters warned that gale force winds of 45-50mph on Tuesday and into Wednesday could hamper ongoing efforts to reconnect power to the remaining homes.
‘We’re starting to get tired now’
Jonathan Strutt lives in Kirkheaton in Northumberland and his household has been without power for 10 days.
He told Sky News: “We’re a pretty resilient community. But I think the community, the businesses here and the frontline workers up here are starting to get tired now.
“It’s a long time, obviously, to go without power and vulnerable people in the village are having to struggle to make their way through, get heat and stay together with it.
“We’ve only recently just got support from the army, which is fantastic, it’s great to see them here.”
He said the “communications and the response” from Northern Powergrid has been “too little, too late,” but emphasised “we really appreciate the engineers – they are working incredibly hard in these freezing conditions”.
Mr Strutt added: “We need communications, we need accurate information so that we can plan and make sure that we are protecting vulnerable residents and so we can get the economy in this village ticking again.”
Amid ongoing anger over the government’s response, he called for politicians to “put pressure” on Northern Powergrid to ensure they are “increasing the manpower that they have got up here” in an effort to reconnect all properties.
People being treated as ‘second-class citizens’
Answering an urgent question in the Commons on the continuing problems caused by Storm Arwen, energy minister Greg Hands said it is “completely unacceptable that around 1,600” households are still without power.
He added: “I have been assured by the network operators that all efforts are focused on having power restored to those households in the next day.”
Labour accused the government of treating people in the North of England and in Scotland as “second-class citizens” as they remain without power 10 days after Storm Arwen.
Quoting a Conservative councillor from northern England, shadow climate change minister Ed Miliband said: “‘If this happened in London or in the South East everything would have got thrown at it’. They are his words.
“Aren’t people in the North entitled to think he is right? They have been treated as second-class citizens.”