Northern Powergrid prepares for Storm Christoph

18 January 2021

Northern Powergrid, the company that powers everyday life for 8 million people by delivering electricity to 3.9 million homes and businesses across the North East, Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire, is reassuring customers that its teams are ready to support them should Storm Christoph have any impact on its network.

The Met Office has forecast for Storm Christoph to bring heavy rain and an increased risk of flooding across the region from tonight (Monday 18 January 2021) through to Thursday – particularly across the electricity distributer’s operating area in Yorkshire and across towards the Humber.

Northern Powergrid is closely tracking Storm Christoph and has ensured it has resources appropriately placed to be able to effectively respond to and manage the region’s power network should the forecasted heavy rain and subsequent potential flooding impact its network or cause access and travel disruption across the communities it serves.

In advance of the weather front, teams across Northern Powergrid have spent today checking permanent flood defences installed at key sites across its network where there is an identified risk.  The company is also ensuring that its temporary flood defences, including high-capacity pumps and flood barriers are ready and can be deployed if needed.

Rod Gardner, Northern Powergrid’s head of operational performance improvement and the company’s major incident manager, said:

With another spell of difficult weather conditions ahead as a result of Storm Christoph, we are once again ensuring that we are prepared and our people are ready to do what they need to do to maintain service to our customers, if the weather affects our operating area.

We’ve implemented a range of actions, ensuring that our resource is ready and able to respond, our teams and specialist vehicles, tools and equipment are in place. We have also carried out thorough checks of the distribution network, inspecting assets that may fall into higher risk categories dictated by the potential weather impact, putting appropriate arrangements in place.

Being there for our customers every day is what we do and our people understand the responsibility and vital role they play in powering peoples’ lives – especially so as key workers during the pandemic. We will continue to monitor our operations 24/7 for any impacts so we can react and mobilise a response as soon as possible.

Our network control engineers are ready to restore power supplies to customers remotely, moving electricity through alternative routes on our network wherever possible to get customers back on supply. Our dispatch teams will mobilise our frontline workforce to carry out any necessary local repair work using our COVID-19 Secure practices and procedures.

In addition, Northern Powergrid is ready to deploy its specialist access equipment, including a range of 4×4 vehicles, wherever possible, to help with site access where flood conditions may make it more difficult to move around the region.  It’s 24/7 contact centre will remain available with advisors ready to provide information, advice and support to customers who call 105, the free, three digit power cut number.

Northern Powergrid’s website, which has a power cut map and reporting tool, and its 24/7 social media feeds on Facebook and Twitter (@NorthPowergrid) will provide updates for customers.  If customers spot any damaged overhead power lines or other equipment they must not approach the area and should report it immediately by calling 105.

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 Membership, will be kept updated as a priority. Northern Powergrid’s customer support vehicles are also prepped and ready to go out into our local communities, where possible, to offer help on the ground to those who need it most.

The network operator’s safe and COVID-19 Secure working practices and robust operating protocols have meant that Northern Powergrid has been there for its customers 24/7, 365 days a year powering businesses, homes, hospitals, vaccine sites and supermarkets throughout the pandemic.

Customers are asked not to approach Northern Powergrid’s key workers unless it is an electricity emergency and if they do so they must respect socially distancing at all times.  If customers spot any damaged electricity network equipment they must not approach it and should call 105 immediately.

Power cut tips and advice include:

  • bookmarking Northern Powergrid’s online power cut map and reporting service on their mobile devices –
  • having a charged mobile phone with important numbers, including 105, easily accessible
  • turning 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)
  • keeping one light switched on so you know when power is restored
  • keeping a battery or wind-up torch handy – as they’re much safer than candles
  • checking on your elderly or sick neighbours and relatives and consider joining Northern Powergrid’s free Priority Services Membership if you might be more vulnerable in a power cut –
  • ensuring you have warm clothing and blankets handy and some food and drink in your home that does not require electricity to heat or prepare it, and only call 999 in an emergency.

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