Storm Arwen: SSEN to reconnect last 30 Scottish homes "as quickly as possible" after nine days without power
A total of 30 homes are still without power in northern Scotland, nine days after Storm Arwen caused “catastrophic” damage, Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) has said.
SSEN repair teams have reduced the number without electricity from 560 at 1pm on Saturday, but were hampered by further bad weather, which the firm said had caused “access issues and presented additional welfare and safety risks”.
It said: “We remain committed to reconnecting all customers as quickly and safely as possible.
"Due to today’s [Saturday’s] weather conditions hampering progress, approximately 30 properties will be without power overnight.”
The remaining customers without power are among some 135,000 hit by the storm on Friday 26 November.
Those without power earlier on Saturday were in Aberdeenshire, with “small numbers” in Perthshire, Angus and Moray.
Another power firm. SP Energy Networks, said it had restored power to all 200,000 of its customers who were disconnected, including in the Borders, by Thursday.
SSEN director of operations Mark Rough said: “The weather conditions have been really challenging for our teams today, but we are continuing to work throughout Saturday night to safely connect the final few homes.
"Our localised network has sustained significant damage and through a combination of repairs and mobile generation we will continue to work until all power is restored.
“We have over 700 field staff working, with support from other network operators and contractors from across Great Britain, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
“I’d like to thank customers for their continued patience and apologise for the disruption caused.
"We continue to work closely with local authorities and local resilience partnerships in Aberdeenshire to support welfare checks to those who remain off supply.”
SSEN has described Storm Arwen as a “once in a generation event” which had caused an unprecedented amount of damage to its electricity network in the north east of Scotland.
This had amounted to five times as much as from any extreme weather since records began in 2002.
It said more than 1,000 points of damage had been caused to the network and the storm had been “both extensive and catastrophic”.
Residents are braced for more freezing temperatures, with snow forecast for parts of the country and areas of Aberdeenshire and Moray expected to dip to -3C by Sunday night after only reaching 1C during the day.
The long delays to restoring power have prompted energy regulator Ofgem to warn it will take enforcement action against network companies which failed to reconnect customers quickly enough following the storm.
It has also agreed with firms to lift the £700 cap on compensation which could be given to customers.
The change will allow 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 told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: "We are deeply concerned about customers who for over a week have been without power.
"We want to establish the facts and make sure we understand what has happened, whether the network companies have met their obligations.
"If they haven't, we will take enforcement action.”
"What we expect from the network companies is to be relentless in connecting people, but also to be putting support in place."
A message from the Editor:
Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by Coronavirus impacts our advertisers.
If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.
Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.