A CUMBRIA FARMER has criticised his energy provider for the poor level of information given out after the recent gales.

Jim Webster, from Barrow-in-Furness was without power for six-and-a-half days and was forced to call the local police to find out if the power lines lying across his yard and buildings were still live.

 “I called United Utilities myself, but all I got was the same recorded message. In the end I called the police and nine hours later they were able to inform me,” said Mr Webster.

He is further angered by the decision of United Utilities to limit compensation to 200 a business, because he estimates the cost to his business at between 600-800.

United Utilities said the scale of the incident was unprecedented and it was sorry if customers could not get through on its phone lines.

“More than 100,000 customers called over the weekend and three-quarters did get through to a customer service adviser or a recorded information message first time,” said a spokesman.