As has become the norm, we have the annual occurrence of many households in the Highlands suffering the loss of electric power as a result of storm-force winds. In many cases the outages are lasting for days, and this at a time of year when need is greatest.
As a matter of urgency, the Scottish Parliament should compel the power companies to replace overhead lines with underground infrastructure.
It is clear that the extremes of weather we are now experiencing are likely to continue for the foreseeable future. It appears that this appalling standard of service is only tolerated in parts of rural Scotland. Note the rapid availability of funds for flood defence expenditure after last year’s floods in the South.
There is the potential for a win/win situation. Cost is the reason for not burying the cables. Our MSPs should urgently consider diverting some, or all, of the ludicrous sums we pay in wind farm subsidies in order to raise the requisite expenditure.
A huge cheer for our other emergency service, the electricity engineers. It is only when we are plunged back into the Dark Ages that we can begin to appreciate our dependency on this magical substance invoked from the rotation of magnetism and wires.
However, for those of us who have lost that childlike ability to appreciate such wonders when this convenience vanishes along with lights, hot water, food, and t’internet, somebody out there is most definitely to blame.
There were hundreds of outages across Scotland after the storm during which engineers were on call 24/7 to fix the damage on what I am sure is a very complex network of distribution.
They are still, as I write, out there, in what is now a blizzard of snow, repairing the breaks that are left and will no doubt reoccur as January reminds us who she is.
The fault is clearly with our infrastructure of supply. Rather than spend more initially and bury cables, we have continuously stuck with our “no thought for the future” process of erecting pylons which are an affront to our landscape but apparently initially cheaper.
Considering the planning process, which has to accommodate barrages of objections, and the cost of repair every time the wind coughs, not to mention increased loss of energy through heat from pylon to pylon, how cheap are they really?
If we are really so backward when it comes to planning then perhaps the Dark Ages are where we should remain.