Power networks’ response to the damage caused by Storm Arwen is to be reviewed by energy regulator Ofgem.
About 9,200 people remain without electricity in northern England and Scotland, a week after the storm hit.
The watchdog’s review will focus on the resilience of the system and the network companies’ emergency response.
While firms have helped provide food and emergency accommodation, residents have criticised them for their communication following the storm.
Three people died after Storm Arwen brought gale force winds and cold temperatures to parts of the UK on 26 November.
Since then welfare centres have been set up in the worst affected areas and military personnel have been deployed to offer support on both sides of the border.
The Energy Networks Association said 9,200 people were still without power on Friday evening – down from 15,000 on Thursday – with 6,650 of these in the North East, 1,300 in the North West and 1,250 in Scotland.
A £700 cap on compensation has been lifted, allowing those affected to claim £70 for each 12-hour period they are left without power – after an initial £70 for the first 48 hours.
Ofgem chief executive Jonathan Brearley said it was a “really worrying time” for the people still without power.
He said the energy watchdog accepted that network companies had been working in “challenging conditions” but that the “relentless effort” must continue until every home in Britain had power restored.
He added there were strict rules on how network companies need to operate in such circumstances and Ofgem would take action if needed.
Energy minister Greg Hands told BBC Radio 4’s The World At One that it was “fair to say that communications were not great in the first couple of days”. He said this would form part of an industry and government review of the handling of the storm.
About 130 military personnel have been carrying out welfare checks and offering support in north-east Scotland, where some 1,600 Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) customers remain off supply, as of 10:00 GMT on Friday.
Durham County Council – which has declared a major incident , meaning it can call on more support – said more than 100 troops were offering support in the region.
Northumberland County Council has also declared a major incident due to ongoing concerns for those without power and, in some cases, without water as well.
By Hope Bolger, BBC News
With thousands of homes left without power for days, communities have come together to support each other following the devastation of Storm Arwen.
Welfare hubs have been set up to give people somewhere to get warm and a bite to eat, including the village hall in Butterknowle in County Durham.
A gust of warm air hits you as you walk into the hall – time to sit down, grab a cuppa and stick your phone on charge.
When Tommy Lowther saw the impact of Storm Arwen on his community, he sprang into action to provide a home away from home.
After initially losing power, this hall became a sanctuary for hundreds of people in the area left in the cold and the dark.
The community spirit is alive here. You’re met by a dedicated group of volunteers, all too keen to hand you a hot meal – it’s bacon butties or pasta today.
Tommy estimates they’ve fed around 1,500 mouths. And it’s not just dinner on the menu, they’ve had entertainment too. A magician paid a visit earlier in the week – anything to keep spirits up.
As the lights slowly flicker back on across parts of the county, those still left without are grateful for a warm corner and a friendly face.
About 6,000 Northern Powergrid customers and 700 Electricity North West customers have no power supply.
Northern Powergrid said some homes would not have power restored until Wednesday. The company said it had been difficult to establish how much damage had been done to the network, making it “impossible to be clear with our customers” about how long repairs would take.
In Scotland, SSEN said it expected to restore power to 1,100 homes throughout Friday and around 500 customers are expected to be reconnected throughout the course of Saturday.
A spokesman said the company welcomed the Ofgem review and that its focus was on reconnecting remaining customers without power.
SSEN will conduct its own internal review, he added.
Power networks have offered hot food vans and paid for emergency accommodation in some cases. But they have been criticised by residents for their communication.
Dr Lily Fulton-Humble, from Alnwick, Northumberland, said Northern Powergrid “could have admitted early on that they were in over their head” and called for more volunteers to help.
And Dr Terry Murphy, from Bishop Auckland in County Durham, said there was a “great deal of concern” about the network’s strategies.
“If you’re constantly telling vulnerable people that power will be on in a few hours, they’re making bad decisions because you’re giving them the wrong information,” he said.
How have you been affected by the power cuts? Email [email protected] .
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