Repair crews are preparing to cope with power cuts after a weather warning for thunderstorms was issued for the North East.
Northern Powergrid, the company responsible for the network that delivers electricity to homes and businesses across the North East, said it is prepared if forecasted thunderstorms affect its power network.
After weeks of sweltering weather and with temperatures expected to reach record highs this week, the Met Office has predicted localised thunderstorms with heavy rain, lightning and an increased risk of large hail across Northern Powergrid’s operating area later today and overnight into Friday.
Rod Gardner, Northern Powergrid's head of network operations, said: "We’re monitoring the weather very closely. We’ve already taken action to ensure that we have extra engineers available so we can restore power and carry out repairs if there is any disruption or damage to our network as a result of the forecast weather.
“We’re also ready with additional staff at our local 24-hour control, dispatch and contact centre, which can be reached by calling the free 105 power cut number, as well as teams in other locations around our business who will be ready to offer our customers support and advice.
“Our website, northernpowergrid.com, has an easy-to-use power cut map and reporting service which our customers can use to report a power cut and get updates about what we’re doing to get their lights back on.
“Even though the sun is shining in many places across the region now, we ‘re encouraging customers to take a few minutes to add 105 and bookmark our online power cut map on their mobile phones so they are ready if they need us. They may also want to watch our videos, which we have on our website and are sharing on social media, to help them know exactly what to do if they do have a power cut.”
Northern Powergrid’s 24/7 Twitter (@northpowergrid) and Facebook pages will also provide regular updates and advice to customers and local communities.
The electricity distribution company, which manages a network of 63,000 substations and more than 60,000 miles of overhead power lines and underground cables, will deploy all available resources as necessary to deal with any potential 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 the electricity distributor’s Powergrid Care team on 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. Its partnership with the British Red Cross will also help provide additional care to customers on the register, when necessary.
The company 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 free, easy-to-remember national phone line which will route people to Northern Powergrid.
Power cut advice and tips include:
:: Bookmark Northern Powergrid’s online power cut map and reporting service on your mobile devices – www.northernpowergrid.com/power-cuts
:: Have a charged mobile phone with important numbers, including 105 - the free national power cut phone line, easily accessible.
:: Turn off electrical appliances at the socket (this is particularly important for heating or cooking appliances as your power could be restored at any time and potentially cause a safety hazard)
:: Keep one light switched on so you know when power is restored
:: Keep a battery or wind-up torch handy – they’re much safer than candles
:: Check on your elderly or sick neighbours and relatives
:: Ensure you have some food and drink in your home that does not require electricity to heat or prepare it only call 999 in an emergency.