Around 38,000 homes and businesses suffered power cuts last night as storms raged across the North East.
Readers took some dramatic images of the lightning over Alnwick in the early hours and caught the power of the storms, which were sporadic and intense in parts of the region, on video.
A Northern Powergrid spokeswoman said: “The lightning strikes which hit the North East this morning caused two large power cuts in the Alnwick area in the early hours of this morning. At around 3.18am approximately 3,400 customers would have seen a number of short interruptions to power lasting for a few seconds each. We also had a longer duration power cut which affected just under 3,000 customers at 3.11am for around 30 minutes.
“We currently [3pm] have around five on-going power cuts affecting the area around Alnwick, affecting approximately 260 customers. Customers can get live updates by visiting our power cut map using their smart phone or by calling 24/7 contact centre on 105, the new, free and easy-to-remember power cut number.”
By midday today, the company had restored power to around 28,000 customers in the North East.
Engineers successfully diverting electricity through alternative routes on its network and the electricity distributor is continuing to monitor the weather, taking action with additional staff being drafted in to repair the damage caused. Northern Powergrid, the company responsible for running the power network across the North East, Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire, also had its helicopter ready to fly today, weather conditions permitting, to carry out network inspections and help spot any damage so repairs can be carried out as soon as possible.
Rod Gardner, Northern Powergrid’s head of network operations, said: “We have invested in maintaining and upgrading our network but weather like the intense, sporadic lightning storms we saw this morning across parts of our region can cause damage to our power network. We’d like to reassure our customers that 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 customers who are still affected and we thank them for their patience.”
The company reminded customers that its website, northernpowergrid.com, has an easy-to-use power cut map and reporting service which customers can use to log a power cut, get updates and find advice about what to do in a power cut. It is encouraging customers to take a minute today to bookmark the website on their mobile phone.
Northern Powergrid’s 24/7 Twitter (@northpowergrid) and Facebook pages are providing regular updates and advice to customers and local communities.
It is urging anyone who spots any damaged cables or other equipment not to approach the area, but to report it immediately by calling 105 the new, free, easy-to-remember national phone line which will route people to Northern Powergrid. The electricity distributor can also be contacted on 0800 66 88 77.