Around 6,500 customers have had their power restored by Northern Powergrid as Storm Gertrude hits the region today.
The storm has caused power cuts for around 7,500 customers predominantly in Northumberland, Tyne and Wear and County Durham.
Engineers have successfully restored customers since the severe weather started hit from the early hours of this morning by diverting electricity through alternative routes on its network, wherever possible.
The company is monitoring the storm force winds which will make it difficult for linesmen to climb and repair the damage caused to overhead power lines by Storm Gertrude.
Rod Gardner, head of network operations, said: “We have invested in maintaining and upgrading our network but weather like Storm Gertrude can result in windborne debris and falling trees damaging our overhead power lines.
“We’re sorry for the inconvenience caused and thank our customers for their patience. Our engineers will continue to work throughout the day, diverting electricity through alternative routes on our network and coordinating repairs so we can restore power for our customers affected.
“We’d like to reassure them that our engineers are working hard, in what is very challenging weather conditions, to get customers without power back on as soon as possible.”
The company’s is reminding customers that its website, northernpowergrid.com, has an easy-to-use power cut reporting service which customers can use to log a power cut and get updates.
It is encouraging customers to bookmark the website on their mobile phone so they are ready to use the service if they need it and view short and informative videos available so they know exactly what to do if they do have a power cut.
The Met Office is forecasting continued strong wind across the day. Northern Powergrid is closely monitoring the weather forecast and will continue to do so across the weekend.
The electricity distribution company, which manages a network of 61,000 substations and more than 91,000km of overhead power lines and underground cables, will deploy all available resources as necessary to deal with any 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 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 contact the company immediately on its 24 hour power cut enquiry numbers:0800 66 88 77 in the North East.