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Weather forces Sky and Freeview to suspend telephone helplines

Update | The Beast from the East resulted in Freeview and Sky closing their customer support lines.

The extreme weather, caused by a strong easterly wind flow across the country, combined with locally heavy snow falls, plus the northern edge of storm Emma, caused companies to shut up shop.

Sky said most of its departments were unavailable from Wednesday afternoon, with many of their call centres remaining closed on Thursday, with the company "aiming" to offer normal service on Friday

Among the customers trying to get through are those who have lost access to satellite TV as a result of the weather. Thick cloud, strong snowfall and snow accumulating on the dish or LNB arm protruding from the dish will impair reception - but there's little that Sky can do. The company advises: "If it’s not currently snowing, but has been in the past 48 hours, there might be standing snow on your dish. If so, allow it to melt naturally."

Freeview meanwhile had to close its Advice Line early on Wednesday, with staff unable to get to the Scotland-based call centre on Thursday. Freeview said it would open the Advice Line as soon as possible.

During the early hours of Thursday, transmitters in parts of the West and South West Midlands underwent engineering work which will result in a number of services switching frequencies. Viewers in these areas may temporarily lose access to the service during the night time hours, but should regain services after retuning on Thursday. The Freeview Advice Line is expected to be reopen on Thursday to provide support to viewers who are having difficulties with retuning in the affected areas.

Viewers can check if there are any problems with their local Freeview transmitter via the checker tool on the Radio and Television Investigation Service website. The website also outlines possible other reasons for reception problems; the weather can aid corrosion to viewer's outdoor aerials and cables, for example.

  • Local TV channel Estuary TV, which serves Northern Lincolnshire and East Yorkshire, was forced to ditch its scheduled live news programme on Wednesday evening after the site housing its studio facilities was closed due to weather conditions.
  • On radio, many local station chains replaced networked programmes in favour of special programmes covering the latest weather warnings and travel alerts.

Last updated: 12:33 01/03/2018