St Jude storm cuts power to more than 200,000 homes

Power distribution network operators in southern England are racing to fix power cuts after storm “St Jude” wreaked havoc on Monday morning.

Wind gusts of up to 99 miles per hour have brought down power lines in several places. Fallen trees blocked traffic along some roads, slowing down engineers.

Meanwhile, trains were cancelled across much of southern England, holding up peers travelling to a crucial debate on the Energy Bill.

At 08:40, UK Power Networks estimated 140,000 homes and businesses had lost supply across its part of the grid: 40,000 in the South East and 100,000 in the East of England. That number is “likely to rise as more damage is reported”, a spokesperson said. It is checking the networks by helicopter patrol.

SSE Power Distribution said at 10:00 around 82,000 customers were affected across its southern region. It had an extra 200 engineers drafted in from its Scottish region to help assess the damage, joining 800 regular operational workers and 100 office staff.

A further 5,000 have been hit in the South West, according to Western Power Distribution. Its Midlands and South Wales areas were running a normal service.

Labour and Liberal Democrat peers were expected to make a last attempt to get a 2030 decarbonisation target for the power sector into the Energy Bill, in a debate today. The green amendment was narrowly rejected in the Commons.

Labour peer Baroness Bryony Worthington tweeted: “Both Ron Oxburgh and I live in Cambridge where there are no trains ‘until further  notice’ – hoping we make it in for decarb target debate!”