Power restored after freak storms

Bournemouth Echo: Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman visited the north east of England following major flooding in the area Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman visited the north east of England following major flooding in the area

The vast majority of homes left without power following this week's freak storms have been reconnected, according to suppliers.

Northern Powergrid said engineers had restored electricity to all affected customers in the north east of England where access to their properties has been possible.

Around 2,450 homes were hit by black-outs after lightning strikes and storms damaged supply lines on Thursday.

The electricity firm said in a statement: "Where access has not been possible, we intend to reconnect the properties to the electricity network today, subject to access being made available. Our engineers have been working extremely hard to restore power, either by permanent or temporary repair."

The news comes as home-owners, businesses and the insurance industry continues to count the cost of the devastating storms that battered northern parts of the country leaving one man dead, properties flooded and transport networks crippled.

Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman on Saturday praised the response of the emergency services as she visited flood-damaged homes in Gateshead.

Hundreds of rail engineers also worked to repair damaged tracks which disrupted services between England and Scotland as the clean-up operation rumbled on.

Ms Spelman said: "I would really like to commiserate with the local community.do know what it feels like to be flooded out of your home. And I want to praise the emergency services and local authority that swung into action with a pre-prepared plan."

Rail services were badly disrupted as rain tore away track beds at Scremerston, Northumberland, and landslides in the Lake District and Scottish Highlands caused more problems.

It led to thousands being stranded as no trains could pass between Newcastle and Edinburgh. The route has since been reopened, but with extended journey times. Northern Rail services between Newcastle and Carlisle are still disrupted due to flooding damage, but the line is expected top be fully reopened on Sunday.

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