Comhairle and SSEN are working on cable fault issue

A major power cut in the Western Isles last Friday, which affected 13.6k properties in Lewis and Harris, was caused by a fault to the subsea cable that connects Lewis and Harris to the mainland supply grid.

Friday, 23rd October 2020, 8:40 am
SSEN have now said a replacement cable is necessary.

A spokesperson for Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) said that testing of the 32km cable, which runs from Skye, indicated a fault in the line and further investigations were underway “to understand any instance of third-party damage” to the cable and to implement a restoration plan.

SSEN said in their statement that the company was assessing whether a repair to the cable could be undertaken, or given the inaccessible location, an end-to-end cable replacement will be required. 

There is no longer any impact to the supply of electricity on Lewis and Harris as a result of the fault. Battery Point Power Station will remain in operation for the duration of the fault alongside on-island renewable generation. 

But, the transmission company has confirmed, as a result of the faulty cable, there will be restrictions to the export of electricity generated locally until the situation is remedied. 

As last week’s power cut hit, Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar issued a statement on social media stating that the authority would be making “strong representations” over the loss of supply following what the authority claimed were  statements on SSE’s website saying the power cut was the result of a “planned outage”.

The Comhairle said that “no notice was given to islanders”, and this was “unacceptable”.

SSEN has since confirmed that there was a planned outage for that day in the Arivruach area of Lewis which, the company stated, affected five customers from 9.30am – 3pm who had been notified in advance.

The Comhairle confirmed on Tuesday that it was working with SSE following their discovery of the fault in the subsea cable between the islands and the mainland.