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Thousands still without power as snow falls in parts of UK

·5 min read

Thousands of people are still without power following “extensive and catastrophic damage” caused by Storm Arwen, as snow appeared overnight in some parts of the UK.

Downing Street said around 19,500 homes are still without power due to the damage caused by Storm Arwen.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said a further 7,949 homes had had power restored since Wednesday – meaning 98% of the 950,000 homes originally affected now have electricity.

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN), which distributes power to 3.7 million homes in central southern England and the north of Scotland, said 3,100 people are still off supply, mainly more rural communities, and it was working to reconnect them.

Areas that are most affected include Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Moray, Angus, Perthshire and Stirlingshire.

It added that areas with high voltage power, which supply towns and villages, are now largely reconnected and SSEN said it hopes to restore power to the rest by the end of the day.

Winter weather Dec 1st 2021
A fallen tree is removed after Storm Arwen (ENA Energy Networks Association/PA)

For low voltage areas, including individual homes and groups of properties, the company said that “extensive damage” has taken place, and it is hoping to restore power to homes by Friday.

Aberdeenshire Council said in a statement that 120 military personnel are en route to “support ongoing resilience efforts” following the storm.

It comes as rain, sleet and snow fell in south-western parts of the UK on Thursday, while wintry showers have affected the North and East.

The Met Office said the showers will be confined to Norfolk later on Thursday, with gales easing along the North Sea coast.

More snow is expected to hit Scotland on Friday before moving across towards the South East. Meanwhile rain is predicted for the north western parts.

Eastern parts of Scotland are predicted to have highs of 2C (35.6F) while western Scotland could have highs of 4C (39.2F).

Across England there may be highs of 3C (37.4F) and 4C on Thursday, with some sunny spells and cloud later.

Clare Pennington, from Newtyle in Angus, said she was on her sixth day without power and is staying in a static home as she is building a house.

A project manager in sustainability, she told the PA news agency: “It has been as cold inside as it is outside and I’ve had no heating, hot water or light since Friday.

Power lines downed by trees in Northumberland (Forestry England/PA)

“(We feel) totally forgotten (about). It was freezing last night, too cold to sleep. We haven’t even got anyone scheduled to come and assess the situation yet so it could be next week before we’re back with power.

“It’s really cold and damp and while I’ve not had an asthma attack for years, I can feel my breath getting wheezy as well as a cough.

“I’m pretty resilient but the frustration of having no news and no idea of when things might improve is really hard, and physically it’s tiring with no sleep since Thursday because of the cold.”

She added: “I think what is so frustrating is the continued excuse of (the weather being) unprecedented.

“It may be unprecedented but it’s been predicted by climate scientists for years and it’s only set to get worse, but our electricity infrastructure is aging and wholly unprepared.”

Ms Pennington later said she had been contacted by engineers who were en route to visit her property.

Labour’s shadow environment secretary Jim McMahon said: “Thousands have been left without power for days on end, especially in rural and more remote communities, yet they have been mostly abandoned by the government.

“Half-hearted reassurance from ministers hundreds of miles away is completely useless when so many people are unable to cook, charge their phones or store vital medicines properly.

“The Conservatives need to get their act together and ensure there is resilient infrastructure across the country to stand up to the more severe storms we know are coming in the climate crisis.”

By noon on Thursday, SSEN had connected power to 125,000 customers.

People who are without power and are unable to stay with families or friends can get their costs reimbursed from SSEN for other accommodation.

Receipts must be kept. Anyone who needs help arranging accommodation should call SSEN’s contact centre on 105.

The firm has also established welfare facilities, with free hot food and drinks. Customers can also claim up to £15 per person for food from local places.

The Energy Networks Association said as of 9am on Thursday, 19,500 people were still without power and 98% of homes had been reconnected.

It is aiming to reconnect the majority of properties by Friday, while people who live in more rural areas may have their power returned by the end of the week.

The association added that more than one million homes had been affected by the power issues.

Traffic Scotland said it was busy and slow around Edinburgh due to a lane closure on the A720 Eastbound between Calder and Baberton.

An earlier crash at Calder led to long delays on the M8, M90 and M9 as well as other routes, but later cleared.

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