A FARMER from County Durham has hit out at Northern Powergrid for not knowing if her herd of cows “will live or die” after her farm has been left without power for 65 hours and counting.

Since Friday evening, Hazel Harris, and the farm she owns near Evenwood, has been plunged in darkness – suffering from no heat, no power and no way of feeding the 100 cows she co-owns with her husband and another local farmer, Graham Archbold.

The power shortage was caused by Storm Arwen battering the region with wind, snow and rain, and the cows are now starting to suffer the early stages of mastitis.

Despite being put on the priority list with Northern Powergrid, Hazel, who suffers from arthritis and a degenerative spinal disease, said she has not received the generator she was promised on Sunday.

Due to the specific three-phase electric supply Hazel’s farm, Evenfield, requires, she has been told that there have been difficulties sourcing the correct generator.

Hazel, who has owned parts of the farm for 35 years, has called Northern Powergrid “around 50 or 60 times over the last three days”.

She said: “My animals are balling their heads off because they haven’t been fed in three days now. We’re supposed to be priority customers, but, so far, we’ve had no contact from Northern Powergrid.

“At this moment in time, I’m concerned about my animals and worried that some of them might die. I don’t know whether they’ll lose their life, but it’s a completely avoidable and unnecessary situation.

“My family are upset and wound up because they can see that the animals are getting upset – it’s far from ideal.”

Hazel has now been able to source a generator from a local business – but believes “it should have never got to this stage”.

Hazel added: “Fifteen years ago, we lost power and got a generator straight away. Ever since, we’ve had no problem but expected the same level of service.

“So many people have been impacted by Storm Arwen, and I don’t know a single person who has got through to Northern Powergrid.

“The lack of communication is frustrating – this is an animal welfare issue. As soon as I call, I’m on hold for two and a half hours at a time – it can’t continue like this.”

In response to Hazel’s complaint, Northern Powergrid maintained it is working to restore power to 211,000 of the 240,000 house that were impacted by Storm Arwen over the weekend.

A spokesperson added: “We continue to do all we can to get those customers still affected back on supply safely and as soon as we can.

“We will not stop until all our customers are restored, and our network is returned to full strength.”