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Storm Desmond: Two years on

Carlisle

Since Storm Desmond hit the region two years ago today (5th December) Electricity North West has invested £270m in strengthening the power network to help power everyone’s daily lives.

Storm Desmond caused widespread damage and disruption and the loss of power to 55,000 people in Lancaster and Morecambe after floodwater breached flood defences which were installed to withstand a ‘once-in-100-year’ floods and more than 13,000 homes and businesses in Cumbria.

Since winter 2015 Electricity North West has invested more than £270m which will benefit more than five million customers from rural Cumbria to urban Manchester, including almost 1,000 miles of trees cut, £14m in upgrading and replacing overhead power lines and £14m in upgrading underground electricity cables.

The financial boost also includes a further £5.4m investment to help protect key substations of which £4.6m has been invested at our main substations at Lancaster, Carlisle and Rochdale. The extra defences, which include raising key equipment over 10ft high, new flood doors and CCTV which help monitor any activity in the substation.

This year alone the region has been impacted by ex-hurricane Ophelia and Storms Aileen and Brian and last week heavy rain caused flash floods in Lancashire and the Fylde Coast. The investment and extra flood defences helped protect the network and cause minimal impact or damage.

Martin Deehan, operations director for Electricity North West, said: “It is our responsibility to keep the power on for everyone across the North West which is why we’re proud of the work and our investment in the network since Storm Desmond hit our region two years ago.

“We’ve already experienced some severe weather this year and I’m delighted to say that the network has coped well which is great reassurance to our customers as we head into winter.

“Whether it is charging your mobile or streaming your favourite TV series, we all take electricity for granted every day and its essential that we continue to make that happen.”

A new report released earlier this month shows that Electricity North West has delivered the highest ever reliability levels over the past year and since Storm Desmond almost 325,000 people have joined the Priority Services Register to get extra support if they need it.

David Morris, MP for Morecambe and Lunesdale, said: “I am pleased that Electricity North West has invested substantially in the electricity supply in our area in the two years post Storm Desmond.

“The power outages we saw caused huge issues for many people and it was right that Electricity North West have invested heavily to prevent outages on that scale in the future.

“If you know of a friend or relative who is vulnerable please make sure you sign them up the priority services register, this means that they will receive extra support should there be an outage in the future.”

Since Storm Desmond a new national number, 105, was launched to help customers easily contact their network power operator to report or get up-to-date information about power cuts, as well as report damage to power lines and substations.

More than 120,000 people across the North West have used the new number since it launched in September last year.

If customers experience a power cut they can call the free national number 105 or 0800 195 4141 or follow @ElectricityNW on Twitter or report the fault online.

For more information and advice go to www.enwl.co.uk/power-cuts/helpful-tips/.

To get up-to-date information about flood risks in your area visit the Environment Agency and for updates on weather warnings and how to get your home ready for winter visit the Met Office.

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