Salvation Army helps Sunderland residents affected by power cut as outage goes into second day

Northern Powergrid has said it is working to restore power to hundreds of homes in Sunderland.
Northern Powergrid has said it is working to restore power to hundreds of homes in Sunderland.

A charity has been helping members of a Sunderland community after a power cut hit homes and businesses more than 24 hours ago.

Residents in Millfield lost power yesterday afternoon, with around 520 properties affected by the issue.

Today, the Salvation Army helped ensure families were looked after as work continues on reinstating the supply.

It plans to offer a breakfast service in the morning, should residents wish to have a hot drink and something to eat.

Earlier tonight, Northern Powergrid said 480 premises were still without power, with no timescale given about how long it will take to repair the problem, which has been caused by an issue with an electricity cable.

It is encouraging customers it has contacted directly by letter and texts regarding power cut in SR4 6 and SR4 7 areas to provide access to their properties as soon as possible to support the network operator’s continued work to restore power supplies.

A spokeswoman for Northern Powergrid, the company responsible for the region’s power network, said: “On Tuesday we received calls from around 30 customers in the SR4 area who were having problems with their electricity supply and seeing damage to electrical equipment in their homes.

“The safety of our customers is our priority so we isolated supplies for those affected and we have had our teams on site – as well as our customer support vehicles – since Tuesday.

“We are actively investigating the cause and carrying out essential work on our network.

"To enable this we isolated supplies for 494 customers from midnight on Tuesday.

"We have restored power to more than 170 customers.

“Before restoring power to those customers still affected our engineers will be visiting each property to reassure them and confirm that they can safely receive power from our network once it is reenergised.

"We have already visited hundreds of properties and have 47 customers’ properties where we still need to gain access.

"We have sent letters and texts to these customers to encourage them to contact us as soon as they can and our teams on the ground will continue to knock on doors to help us progress our restoration work.

“We mobilised extra teams from across our business who have been on site throughout supporting our customers.

"Our customer support vehicles have remained in the community to help local residents, alongside our partners at the British Red Cross who are also providing practical support.

"Our customer support ambassadors are providing warm drinks and mobile charging facilities and checking on any customers who may be more vulnerable in a power cut due to their personal or medical circumstances.

“Today we also opened, in partnership with the Salvation Army, a local rest centre on Rutland Street which has been helping customers and providing hot drinks and food to those affected.

"The centre remained open until 8pm tonight and will reopen again at 7.15am tomorrow morning.

“We are continuing to keep our customers informed through our teams on the ground 24/7 and by texting our customers directly with updates.

"We are actively encouraging local residents to ensure we can have prompt access to their property so we can complete our checks and restore power to this section of our network as soon as we can.

“Our contractors have also been working on site since Tuesday assessing the damage to affected customer’s appliances and carrying out repairs to essential items such as heating, cooking and lighting first.

"They will remain in the community supporting our customers until this work is complete and will also look at how we can further support those who may have damage to non-essential items.

“We are working to safely restore power in a stages tomorrow for our customers, wherever possible.

"We are sorry for this disruption and thank our customers for their continued patience while we complete this essential work over the coming days.”

Northern Powergrid’s customer care advisors can be contacted 24/7 on social media or by calling 105.

The Salvation Army's emergency response unit has also been based on site in Rutland Street providing refreshments to workers tackling the issue, and working with the Red Cross.

Salvation Army volunteers have served up drinks and meals to residents who were without heating and lighting in their homes as a result of the outage.

They also put on films for the children and provided access to video games.

Majors Peter and Karen Clark are the ministers at Sunderland Millfield Salvation Army and brought together a team of volunteers to provide refreshments and support to those affected from the corps.

Major Clark said: “Our divisional emergency response team received a call from Sunderland City Council at 10am asking if we could open up our building as a rest centre to the community while the power company worked to resolve the issue.

"It’s a privilege for us to be able to assist in this way, offering people a safe warm space while they’re waiting to return home.

“It’s not unusual to find our building open to our community in this way, every day we encourage people to drop in and take part in the activities on offer or to perhaps find some calm in the middle of life’s storms over a cup of tea.”

Sunderland Millfield Salvation Army runs a number of activities for the community, including a youth club, Silver Screen film club for people who are older or isolated, basic digital skills classes, parent-and-toddler group and a charity shop.

Across the UK, The Salvation Army also offers support in emergency response and disaster situations: our teams responded to the Manchester Arena bombing, the Croydon tram crash and the Grenfell Tower fire, as well as to numerous local incidents, such as the recent Deptford fire in Sunderland.

The Salvation Army’s emergency response vehicles attend between 170-200 call-outs per year.