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44 schools in South Cumbria closed as engineers battle to restore power to homes

Dozens of schools in South Cumbria are closed today following the heavy snowfall over the weekend.

44 schools won’t open today.

Read the full list here

Meanwhile, the focus of a multi-agency response to a major incident following the impact of heavy snowfall in Cumbria has moved to supporting communities who remain without power.

The multi-agency response is working closely with Electricity North West to support their efforts to restore power as quickly and as safely as possible to a remaining 1,500 properties.

A key aspect of this work is the identification and assessment of vulnerability of those who are without power.

Work conducted by Electricity North West engineers has restored power to more than 7,500 properties already.

If you see lines down, stay well clear and report to Electricity North West immediately on 105.

If you need welfare support, you can contact Electricity North West on 105 or 0800 195 41 41. In a life-threatening situation contact 999.

There is hot food available for all customers affected by the ongoing power cuts at Greenodd Service Station, Ulverston, LA12 7RE, free of charge for anyone who does not have a power supply.

Access continues to be a major issue and even specialist 4x4 vehicles cannot reach all sites, with equipment for repairs being carried on foot in some locations. 

Stephanie Trubshaw, Electricity North West’s customer director, said: “The damage to the network is significant and, in some cases, we’ve found several consecutive spans of overhead line damaged.

“Teams have worked tirelessly, battling the horrendous conditions and we’ve been able to restore power to around 7,500 properties. 

“Driving conditions are still posing major problems and we’re also unearthing more damage as teams recce sites throughout the South Lakes area.

“We will continue to work around the clock to ensure power is restored and we recognise the difficulties customers will have. If you need to report a power cut or need additional support, please call us on 105 and if you need urgent help in a life-threating situation call 999.”

Electricity North West has drafted in teams of engineers from across the North West as well as contractors to help with repairs. Additional teams have been brought into the contact centre to keep customers updated and a helicopter has been used to identify damage and move people and equipment. 

Today, engineers from other regional electricity networks across the country will be on hand to assist with the huge scale of repair work. 

The power network operator is continuing to liaise with Cumbria’s Local Resilience Forum as multiple agencies respond to the incident. 

“We know this is an extremely difficult time for all of those affected and I want to thank customers who have reached out and sent messages of support to our teams,” added Stephanie. 

“We’re regularly reviewing our restoration times and due to the severity and the amount of damage, many of these have now been set for tomorrow evening. But we are still working and will continue to restore people through the night as repair work is complete. 

“We’re doing this so people have time to make alternative arrangements and these will be constantly reviewed once we have more information and details from site.”

A yellow weather warning for ice is currently in place until midday (Monday), and motorists are advised to drive with extreme care.

Cumberland Council and Westmorland and Furness Council highways teams continue to clear and treat priority routes. This work has resulted in the county’s priority routes all deemed to be passable with care.  However, abandoned vehicles are still restricting some routes to one lane and caution is advised and delays may be possible.

Superintendent Andy Wilkinson, Cumbria Constabulary, said: “The multi-agency response into this major incident remains ongoing as collectively we do everything we can to support those who are face a further evening without power.

“I would encourage anyone who is without power and requires welfare support to contact Electricity North West on 105 or 0800 195 41 41.

“Road conditions remain challenging in many areas of the county. Our message is clear and remains the same – if you do not need to travel, please do not do so.

“Drive to the conditions of the road and allow extra time for any journey you make.”

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