Storm Arwen Recovery – Community Update
Storm Arwen caused a huge amount of damage across the northern United Kingdom, including to power networks, with more than a million properties losing power at some stage during the event from Scotland to the Midlands. In the Electricity North West area, over 117,000 properties were left without power, with the majority of those in Cumbria. There were also a significant number of roads blocked by snow and fallen trees, along with damage to properties, cars and other infrastructure such as broadband, landlines and mobile phone masts.
Cumbria declared a major incident on the evening of Friday 26 November, with organisations working collaboratively to support those affected and to get power and other essential services restored as quickly as possible. This included community groups, voluntary organisations, councils, the NHS, emergency services and utility companies including Electricity North West.
We realise that this has been a very difficult, frustrating and worrying time for those worst affected, particularly as the sheer scale of the damage meant that it was initially difficult to report power cuts or get a clear indication of when services might be restored. Thank you for your patience, and thank you for supporting others in your community who needed extra help during this period.
All properties in Cumbria had power restored by Sunday 5 December; some are still powered by generators, and there may be short disruptions to supply as these are switched back onto the main network as engineers continue full network repairs.
If you experience any new power cuts or problems with generator supply, please report these by phoning Electricity North West on 105.
You can check for power cuts and their estimated time of restoration here: www.enwl.co.uk/power-cuts
Payments for power loss
Customers who were without electricity for more than 48 hours will receive payments from Electricity North West in line with national guidance set out by energy regulator, Ofgem.
- £70 for the first 48 hours
- £70 for each 12-hour period beyond that
Payments are expected to cover costs such as loss of freezer contents, and customers are unable to make further claims to Electricity North West for these costs (although some people may be able to claim on their household insurance).
The same arrangements apply to residential and business customers.
Whilst payments are normally capped at £700, this will not apply to power loss as a result of Storm Arwen.
Electricity North West will be contacting customers eligible for compensation payments, starting with those who were without power for the longest. Given the number of customers affected, it may take a number of weeks to contact all customers.
There is no need to contact Electricity North West to make a claim; however, if you wish, you can register your claim here: www.enwl.co.uk/advice-and-support/guaranteed-standards/apply-for-guaranteed-standards-payment/
If you have any enquiries on compensation payments, or anything else related to Storm Arwen, you can contact Electricity North West by email on StormArwen@ENWL.co.uk (please do not use this email for urgent issues such reporting a power cut; these need to be phoned in on 105 to ensure they are dealt with promptly). You can also see more information including answers to frequently asked questions at www.enwl.co.uk/StormArwen.
We are aware that landlines, broadband, and mobile phone are still not back to normal in all areas of Cumbria.
The companies concerned are working to restore services; for the most up to date information, it’s best to check your supplier’s website.
You can find links to many of the main services providers on https://istheservicedown.co.uk/
Dangerous trees near roads and footpaths
There are still many damaged and fallen trees near roads and footpaths.
If you’re worried that these may not been known, please report them via Cumbria County Council Highways (and information will be passed on to other organisations if necessary).
Highways Hotline: 0300 303 2992
Online Highways Reporting: www.cumbria.gov.uk/roads-transport/highways-pavements/cumbria-highways/highwayshotline.asp
If you’re considering making a claim on your insurance, there’s useful information on the Citizens Advice website: www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/insurance/insurance/insurance-claims/
Contact details for local Citizens Advice Bureau are:
0808 278 7817
Carlisle & Eden
0808 278 7844
01946 693321 (Whitehaven)
01229 772395 (Millom)
Spending a prolonged period without power will have been a stressful experience for many people, particularly when this was combined with a lack of heating, phone and internet, and it was very unclear when the electricity supply might be restored. This is a normal reaction to a challenging situation.
Many people are likely to feel much better now power is back, and they’ve had the opportunity to talk about what happened with friends and family.
However, if you still feel anxious, and you feel you need support, there are a number of services available that don’t need a referral from your GP.
- Togetherall is a service offering free online support to anyone aged 16 and over 24/7 you just need a Cumbrian postcode to register. It provides online peer-peer support, access to an anonymous community and lots of information, as well as courses and resources covering a range of mental health and wellbeing topics https://togetherall.com/
- Kooth is an online service for young people aged 11-18 https://www.kooth.com/
- Mindline Cumbria (http://www.mindlinecumbria.org/) offers support and guidance about mental health over the phone (0300 561 0000), via text or email. They will listen to your concerns and help to empower you to feel more in control of your mental health or support someone else.
It’s only December, and unfortunately it’s likely we’ll see more bad weather in Cumbria over the next few months. If you’d like some tips on how to be better prepared for winter, visit:
There’s information on how winter driving, health, and financial help if you’re finding it difficult to afford the extra costs of heating your home through the winter.
If you can’t access the internet, and need urgent financial help (for example, whilst waiting for payments from Electricity North West), then please contact Cumbria’s “Ways to Welfare” team via the Support Line: 0800 783 1966
In a large, rural county like Cumbria, it’s particularly important that we all look after each other and keep an eye out for our neighbours. Any of us could find ourselves “vulnerable” during an incident like Storm Arwen; sometimes it only takes a minor illness or accident to make it hard even for the toughest of us to cope with the extra pressure.
Cumbrians once again demonstrated with community spirit during Storm Arwen, with all kinds of support springing up within local communities.
If you want some inspiration on how to maintain this community spirit through the winter, why not visit the Kind Cumbria website for ideas?
If you’ve got any further questions about the recovery from Storm Arwen, you can contact:
Carolyn Otley, Community Resilience Coordinator, Cumbria Local Resilience Forum