Massive electricity investment two years after Storm Desmond

Two years ago the county was suffering from severe flooding after one of the worst storms in recent memory.
St Michaels on Wyre was badly affected by flooding after Storm Desmond in winter 2015St Michaels on Wyre was badly affected by flooding after Storm Desmond in winter 2015
St Michaels on Wyre was badly affected by flooding after Storm Desmond in winter 2015

Storm Desmond struck on December 5, 2015, causing severe flooding in parts of Lancashire including Lancaster, Galgate and Wyre.

Among the damage was 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.

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Electricity North West has now revealed that since then, it has invested more than £270m which will benefit more than five million customers in Lancashire, Cumbria and Greater 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 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.

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“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.

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“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.