County Durham residents affected by power cuts in the wake of Storm Arwen are being offered a range of help and support.
Although power supplies have now been reinstated to many properties, residents are being advised as to how they can continue to seek additional assistance if they need it.
It follows more than a week of disruption for residents across the county whose supply was cut off as a result of damage to the network caused by last month’s storm.
Partner organisations of County Durham and Darlington Local Resilience Forum (LRF), supported by the Army, have been carrying out welfare checks, distributing emergency parcels and providing advice.
With just a small number of homes still affected, the partners are urging people to continue to get in touch if they need support.
John Hewitt, Chair of the LRF’s Strategic Coordinating Group and Chief Executive of Durham County Council, said: “While we are pleased that supply has now been reinstated for the vast majority of residents, we know that the impact of the outages will last for some time.
“Whether that’s the financial implications or practical ones, we want people to know that the support we have been providing will continue for as long as they need it.”
Residents whose property was without power on or after Monday 29 November can claim financial assistance from Northern Powergrid. This includes the reasonable costs of alternative accommodation and food.
All customers are eligible. Customers’ circumstances will be considered on a case-by-case basis. If you require assistance, email StormArwen@northernpowergrid.com.
Northern Powergrid has also said that it will be contacting customers affected by the power cuts to advise them as to how their bills will be affected. This will start once power has been restored to all affected properties.
Where someone is experiencing immediate financial hardship, and a delay in reimbursement from Northern Powergrid will cause further strain on their finances, a one-off voucher may be available through Durham County Council’s welfare assistance scheme. Call 03000 267 900 for information.
The council also operates a Financial Assistance Policy, helping homeowners to improve, repair or adapt their properties. To check if help is available to cover the costs of repairing storm damage, call 03000 260000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Residents are being advised to be on their guard against door-to-door callers offering repairs in the wake of the storm. Criminals often use bad weather as an opportunity to offer to deal with damage to roofs, trees and buildings. Once employed, they may seek to increase the scale and value of the work being carried out.
If commissioning work, seek recommendations from family and friends or through one of the recognised trade associations. For more details visit www.durham.gov.uk/trustedtraderschemes. For advice on your legal rights, call the Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 11 33.
The council is working with broadband infrastructure providers and mobile phone network operators to try and resolve issues around broadband and connectivity outages caused by Storm Arwen.
To report a loss of power, including any issues with a generator, visit www.northernpowergrid.com – a map showing updated information on current power cuts is available at https://www.northernpowergrid.com/power-cuts.
If someone is without power and is vulnerable, call 105. Additional contact numbers are available for residents with a hearing or speech impairment. Full details are available at https://www.northernpowergrid.com/contact.
A list of community venues offering support can be found at www.durham.gov.uk/stormarwensupport.