Lessons learned from Storm Arwen

Homes were reconnected much faster during Storm Otto as power supply bosses said lessons were learned from “inaccurate” estimated restoration times during Storm Arwen following questions in parliament from a north-east MP.

Representatives from Scottish and Southern Electrical Networks (SSEN), Scottish Power and Scottish Water took questions from Banff and Buchan MP David Duguid during the Scottish Affairs Committee in the House of Commons last week.

Mr Duguid’s constituency was one of the worst areas affected by the weather including Longside, Maud, Mintlaw and Hatton.

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At the committee, Mr Duguid said there had been a “marked improvement” around communication during Storm Otto.

Farmers help during Storm Otto.Farmers help during Storm Otto.
Farmers help during Storm Otto.

And he questioned Mark Rough, operations director at SSEN Distribution, on what lessons had been learned from Storm Arwen.

Mr Rough admitted that customers were often given “false hope” during Storm Arwen but he said this had been rectified in improved estimations of restoration times during Storm Otto.

“For Storm Otto, at 9am we had our first storm meeting of the day, we analysed the damage at the time and what the wind speeds were,” he said.

"We then made a statement that the majority of customers would be on within a 48-hour period with small pockets in rural areas remaining off after that.”

​David Duguid questioned Mark Rough regarding Storm Otto.​David Duguid questioned Mark Rough regarding Storm Otto.
​David Duguid questioned Mark Rough regarding Storm Otto.

Around 750 staff worked round the clock to restore power to thousands of homes, mainly in Aberdeenshire, which were left without water and electricity during the storm.

Meawhile, engineers also restored 20 pumping stations which lost mains power across the water network.

Mr Duguid said: “It was positive to hear from Mr Rough who was extremely honest in his assessment of the problems incurred during Storm Arwen, especially the estimations of restoration times, and how these were vastly more accurate during Storm Otto.

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“Our engineers and volunteers all went above and beyond to help stranded communities who had no power during Storm Otto. Storm Arwen led to disruption of up to 13 days but I’m glad lessons have been learned.”