Storm Arwen power cuts are unacceptably long in the Age of the Internet – Scotsman comment

Many readers will remember the three-day week during the 1973-74 miners strike when power was turned off and families played board games by candlelight.

Trees brought down by Storm Arwen in Hopeman, Moray (Picture: Peter Summers/Getty Images)
Trees brought down by Storm Arwen in Hopeman, Moray (Picture: Peter Summers/Getty Images)

Others, particularly in rural parts of the country, will have grown up with occasional power cuts during winter.

However, the power outage being experienced by thousands of people in Aberdeenshire, Moray, Angus and Perthshire as a result of Storm Arwen is significantly more serious than those of yesteryear.

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Some people were yesterday facing the prospect of a sixth day without electricity, amid complaints about a lack of information from power companies. Engineers were said to be experiencing “challenging conditions” with multiple faults requiring complex repairs.

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One reason such prolonged power cuts are a greater problem today is that modern life increasingly requires electricity.

In today’s world, the lack of a functioning internet connection is not just an inconvenience, it can threaten livelihoods, while electric car owners may find themselves reliant on the goodwill of neighbours with petrol-driven vehicles – not an option expected to be available forever.

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Another reason is that global warming means that storms like Arwen are going to get more powerful and more devastating.

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Scotland needs to improve the resilience of all its infrastructure – roads, railways and more besides the National Grid – to cope with our changing climate.

And, judging by the delays in reconnecting thousands of people, we need more engineers capable of being mobilised to make the necessary repairs in much shorter order if parts of Scotland are to avoid gaining a most unwanted reputation for going offline for unacceptably long periods.

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