A BED and breakfast owner left without power for almost a week as a result of Storm Arwen has told the boss of Northern Powergrid he will not rest until he is 'brought to account'.

Robert Marchant, who owns the Old Station bed and breakfast at Bell Busk, near Coniston Cold, was one of several residents in the hamlet to be left without power for up to six days following the storm at the end of last month.

Several trees were brought down in the area, and the road between the A65 at Coniston Cold to the village was closed for a time after a power cable was left hanging across the road.

Mr Marchant says as a result of the power-cut he had to turn guests away, losing £1,320 in cancelled fees. He also had to re-stock his freezer, because it defrosted and everything had to be thrown away, and he also got through a month's supply of logs on his wood burner stove to keep warm as temperatures plummeted.

The loss of power to the house also meant no phone landline, and with mobile phone reception poor in the area, phones had to be charged in vehicles, with engines running, before then driving to where calls could be made.

The power went off at 9pm on Friday, November 26 and was finally reinstated at 1pm on the following Thursday - the day after he and his wife had given up and de-camped to Harrogate to stay with family.

In his letter to Phil Jones, chief executive of Northern Powergrid, copies of which he has also sent to Kwasi Kwarteng, secretary of state for business and energy; and also Skipton MP Julian Smith, Mr Marchant says he accepts Storm Arwen was quite a big storm, but the weather was not unprecedented. He also pays tribute to the Northern Powergrid staff on the front line who had done their best, but, he says he was disgusted at the lack of preparation by the company for such an event which he describes as bordering on 'criminally negligent'.

He writes: "I would like to put on record my absolute disgust at Northern Powergrid's totally inept and woeful preparation, planning and execution of whatever plan it may have had for handling such a weather event. I believe it to be bordering on criminally negligent."

Mr Marchant claims maintenance of infrastructure has been insufficient for many years; rotten power line poles should have been replaced and trees should have been cut back.

He also criticises the company for not knowing about the arrival of the storm and its intensity when it had been trailed on national news for several days.

"Weather is probably your most dangerous potential enemy, and thus you should be fully equipped to know what it is going to do, where and when, with great accuracy," he writes.

And, he also questions whether the company has an emergency plan. "If there is such a thing, was it either woefully inadequate in itself, or were you just very slow and inept at actioning it," he writes.

Mr Marchant received a text message from the company soon after the power went off, estimating it would be restored about an hour later. That, he said was the first of an ongoing catalogue of 'disinformation'.

Engineers turned up on the Saturday after the storm and left, promising to report a low hanging, severed cable across the road, which had left several properties without power.

After two days of not hearing from Northern Powergrid, Mr Marchant tried calling the emergency number, but got put through Scottish and Southern Power, who re-directed him back to Northern Powergrid. He also tried calling the police 101 number, to report the low hanging power cable, but was told they could do nothing, as all they had was the same, impossible to get through, number.

The road with the cable was finally closed by North Yorkshire highways two days later - although people continued to use the route, before being removed a day later, even though no work had taken place.

Many of Mr Marchant's neighbours had their power restored three days after the storm, on the Monday night, but at least eight others, including Mr Marchant, were still off.

In the days that followed, he received text messages inviting him to call to report a power cut and telling him when the power would be restored - all that proved to be wrong.

Power was finally restored six days after it went off, after the Marchants had given up and de-camped to Harrogate for the night to stay with family.

Mr Marchant says he is now calling for an inquiry into how Northern Powergrid dealt with the aftermath of the storm.

In his letter to the head of Northern Powergrid, he writes: "I will be urging Mr Julian Smith MP to put pressure on Mr Kwarteng, OFGEM and anybody else with an interest, to force you to answer for your mishandling in some kind of inquiry - public, parliamentary or otherwise.

"Rest assured, I will not rest until you have been brought to account."

A spokesperson for Julian Smith MP said: "Julian has been working with, and continues to work on behalf of constituents who have been affected by Storm Arwen.

"Julian has had multiple correspondence with ministers, the council, Northern Powergrid and other energy operators."

Northern Powergrid, the electricity distribution network operator for the North East, Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire, said: "We're very sorry for the hardship and disruption our customers experienced as we battled to reconnect supplies to 240,000 homes and businesses after one of the most powerful and damaging winter storms to hit the UK in decades. The scale and impact of Storm Arwen devastated parts of our network.

"Our top priority was to safely reconnect our customers as soon as we could, keep them informed to the best of our abilities and do everything we could to support the wider effort in our communities aimed at helping those who needed us the most.

"This storm showed that there are areas where we need to improve. In particular, in the way we use our systems to communicate with our customers when there are major power cuts. We've already made some changes and will learn more lessons from the reviews that will follow."

The company has also announced compensation and welfare payments.