ENGINEERS from Electricity North West are battling treacherous conditions brought by overnight snow to restore power to customers affected across Cumbria.

Heavy snow has caused widespread disruption across the county and yesterday evening, a major incident was declared by police.

Cumbria’s power network has been severely impacted with more than 20 separate damages to the network reported.

While engineers have been able to restore power to many properties by reconfiguring the network remotely, some customers will be off for longer until engineers can reach affected sites and carry out physical repairs.

Teams of engineers, who have already restored supplies to nearly 5,000 customers, are working to restore power as quickly and as safely as possible to just over 2,000 properties.

Access issues are a major problem with many roads impassable and only specialist 4x4 vehicles can currently be used.

Stephanie Trubshaw, Electricity North West’s customer director, said: “These are without a doubt some of the worst conditions we have seen in terms of snow for several years.

“Teams worked into the night restoring power to customers, but as the snow continued to fall, further damage was caused to the network.

“Driving conditions are incredibly difficult and we are having issues with access across large areas of Cumbria, particularly in South Lakes.

“I want to stress that our teams will work around the clock to ensure power is restored. 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 is drafting in engineers from across the North West whilst also calling on its contractors to assist with the restoration as well as carrying out ‘recces’ to assess and identify network damage.

More staff from other areas of the business are also being drafted in to proactively contact customers and the firm has also sourced a helicopter which will help identify damage.

 “The incident across Cumbria is a multi-agency response and we’re in regular contact with all those involved including the police, fire and rescue service and local councils to provide updates and support,” added Stephanie.

“Currently, we’ve made the decision to set all our estimated restoration times to later this evening at 10pm. These estimates will be updated as we are able to access sites to assess the extent of the damage and repairs needed and we can give a more detailed response time. However, given the conditions, particularly regarding access, a small number of properties may remain without power into tomorrow.

“We know it is an extremely difficult time for everybody involved and we’ll continue to provide help and support and we won’t stop until power is restored.”