Storm Caroline - 7pm update

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) remains on Yellow Alert as it continues to respond to damage to its network following the impact of Storm Caroline.

From the early hours of this morning, gale-force winds have battered the north of Scotland, tracking slowly across SSEN’s network region from west to east throughout the course of the day.  Over the last few hours, Shetland has borne the brunt of Storm Caroline, with wind gusts of over 100mph recorded at Gremista. 

Power has been safely restored to over 13,000 customers across SSEN’s network, the main areas affected being the Western Isles, north-west Highlands, Caithness, Moray, north-east Aberdeenshire, Orkney and Shetland.  With wind speeds now starting to subside for most areas it is anticipated the vast majority of customers will be restored this evening. As of 7pm, there are currently 3,000 customers still off supply, 1,300 of which are in Shetland. 

Due to the continued severity of the wind speeds experienced in Shetland, which are forecast to continue through to tomorrow morning, and access issues affecting a small number of customers on Orkney, it is likely that some homes will remain off supply overnight.  SSEN’s teams remain on standby and will carry out repairs as soon as it is safe to do so. 

SSEN’s Customer Contact Centre is also proactively contacting those customers who may remain off supply overnight to advise them of the situation and offer extra support where possible, including welfare facilities and hot food and drinks.

With snow and falling temperatures forecast for Friday, SSEN will remain on Yellow Alert due to the risk of line icing, where snow accumulates and freezes on the overhead electricity network, which can result in damage due to the sheer weight of accumulated snow and ice.  A risk of lightning also remains.

SSEN is asking its customers to remain prepared for the possibility of disruption to supplies and continues to liaise with local resilience partners to help coordinate efforts.

Director of Customer Operations, Dale Cargill, said:

“I would like to thank all our customers who have experienced a power cut for their continued patience as our teams battle against the elements to restore power.  We would also like to apologise to any customers who remain off supply and would like to reassure them that we are well prepared and resourced to carry our repairs to our network as soon as it is safe to do so.

“With heavy snow and risk of lightning forecast for many parts tomorrow, as well as the continued situation in Shetland, we remain on Yellow Alert.  If any of our customers do experience a power cut, or have any concerns about a vulnerable family member or community member, I would encourage them to please call us on the national power cut emergency number, 105.”

SSEN has been tracking the weather event for a number of days in preparation for Storm Caroline and has enacted its well-established resilience plans.  This includes increasing standby resources and moving people and equipment to areas in anticipation of potential damage:

  • Over 850 frontline staff and support teams have been deployed to locations expected to be impacted by Storm Caroline, including the Scottish islands, to respond promptly to damage, where it is safe to do so.
  • 83 mobile generation units have been deployed across SSEN’s network to assist with efforts to restore power.  
  • Catering and welfare vans have also been strategically located across SSEN’s network to offer support to customers who experience a loss of supply. 
  • Two helicopters are on standby to support efforts to respond to damage to SSEN’s network, when it is safe to fly.
  • All local resilience partners have been warned and informed, with key partners such as local authorities, the British Red Cross and the Salvation Army on hand to help support efforts.
  • SSEN’s Customer Services team has proactively contacted over 78,000 of its Priority Services Register customers to pre-warn them of the potential impact of Storm Caroline and to offer extra support where required.

SSEN is also encouraging its customers not to approach any damage to its equipment and, instead, report it to SSEN by calling 105 and engineers will investigate as soon as possible.

NOTES:

Customers are encouraged to be prepared in the event of possible disruption to power supplies, by: 

  • Saving the new emergency power cut number – 105 – to your phone to use if your power goes off, or if you see any damage to the electricity network
  • Downloading SSEN’s Power Track app to give you details of power cuts and restoration times
  • Going to SSEN’s website where there is a wealth of advice and information on how to deal with a power cut
  • Following SSEN on Facebook and Twitter for regular updates 

In the event of an interruption in power supplies, SSEN’s customer service team will make outbound calls to customers on our Priority Service Register (PSR) to offer extra assistance, where required. People can qualify for the PSR if they:   

  • Are dependent on electricity for home medical care
  • Have a chronic illness or short term medical condition
  • Are disabled
  • Have special communication needs
  • Have children under the age of five
  • Are over the age of 60

To find out more about the PSR, click here or call 0800 294 3259.

 

About the author

Van on rural road

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks

We're responsible for maintaining the electricity networks supplying over 3.7 million homes and businesses across central southern England and north of the Central Belt of Scotland. We own one electricity transmission network and two electricity distribution networks, comprising 106,000 substations and 130,000 km of overhead lines and underground cables across one third of the UK. Our first priority is to provide a safe and reliable supply of electricity to the communities we serve in Scotland and England.

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