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Review of Storm Arwen performance with rural communities


Following the severe impact on the network caused by Storm Arwen, we are launching a comprehensive post storm review of network performance and our operational response, with a particular focus on communication with customers and support provided to rural communities without power for extended periods.

Our teams worked to restore power to the 200,000 customers impacted, often in challenging weather conditions, to connect 88% of customers in the first 24 hours following the storm and 96% within 48 hours. However, a significant number of rural customers and communities were without power for more than 2 days and we recognise the impacts that this has had upon those customers.

Therefore, given the scale of the damage experienced by SP Energy Networks and the resultant high volume of major network repairs needed in remote rural areas in order to restore customer’s electricity supplies, we have launched a comprehensive post storm review.

Frank Mitchell, CEO of SP Energy Networks, said: “We are incredibly grateful to our customers for their patience as our engineers worked tirelessly to make repairs safely amid some continuing challenging weather conditions, but we also appreciate the worry and uncertainty over the length of time without power has brought to some customers. 

“We apologise again to everyone affected by the damage to the power network caused by the storm. The devastation right across the communities we serve from Fife, Lothian & Borders, Dumfries & Galloway, Cheshire, North & Mid Wales from north easterly wind speeds of up to 97mph, was far greater than we have seen for at least 25 years.”

“The scale of the damage from storm Arwen has meant that some of our rural customers and communities have been off supply much longer than in a typical major storm that we experience.”

“The post storm review I have launched will look at every aspect of our service to customers in storm Arwen including our rural network design and performance through to our operational response, including effectiveness of communication with customers and support provided to rural communities as we dealt with the consequences of Storm Arwen”

“It is important that the voices of the rural communities we serve are heard in this review, and so we are launching a specific engagement with Council Emergency Planning teams and Local Resilience Partnership forums that are established to support our customers across Scotland, Wales and England. We will also be engaging with the Scottish and Welsh Government resilience teams.” 

“Whilst Storm Arwen was the worst storm we have experienced in many years, it is important that we learn the lessons of this, particularly given the expected increased frequency of storm events due to climate change and customers increasing reliance on electricity in many aspects of their lives”.

Following the severe impact on our network caused by Storm Arwen, we have announced additional compensation of £150 per household to those off for more than 48 hours as an apology for the disruption caused. More information is available here.


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