Gordon MP Richard Thomson has welcomed Ofgem’s interim report on the review of the response to Storm Arwen last November, which saw thousands of households in the North-east left without power for a number of days.
The interim report commits to looking at a number of issues more closely, including communication with customers, accuracy of information and updates, the speed of and cap on compensation payments, and companies’ investment in network resilience.
Commenting, Richard Thomson MP said:
“Recent storms caused huge disruption and devastation across the North-east and it is important that Ofgem’s review into the response to Storm Arwen is thorough and ensures that the electricity network is better able to handle severe weather events going forward.
“I am please to note the report has identified issues such as communication with customers and accuracy of updates as meriting further investigation. Providing customers with reliable information about expected restoration times are vital in allowing people to make informed choices about whether to stay put or relocate to relatives or other accommodation.
“The report also makes clear some of the extreme conditions which not only caused the power outages but then actively hampered the efforts by power company staff to start carrying out repairs. Again, I place on record the thanks of myself and my constituents to the power workers who were out in atrocious conditions trying to restore power.
“One thing which Ofgem should also take into account when looking at resilience issues is the reliability of the communications network. In particular, people with telecoms provided through fibre-optic cables must be provided with adequate backup to ensure they have a phone service during a power outage. It is of particular importance that the UK Government and service providers make sure vulnerable people have access to communications.
“Severe weather events are, unfortunately, becoming more common and building resilience by investing in the power network will be more important than ever. I look forward to Ofgem’s review being published in the springtime which will help ensure lessons are learned from Storm Arwen.”