Storm update: Services disrupted in Western Isles

Just over 900 customers remain without power this afternoon as Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution (SHEPD) work in continuing severe weather conditions to repair the damaged network.

Engineers have been working around the clock from the end of last week, throughout the weekend and from first light this morning to restore power to some 120,000 customers who were affected by the outages caused by high winds, sleet, snow, driving rain and lightning. The freezing conditions, fallen trees and wind blown debris added to the difficulties that engineers experienced, not only in carrying out vital repairs but in accessing the damage.

Welfare and catering provisions are in place for SHEPD customers who are without electricity, with many being accommodated and fed in local hotels.

The islands of Coll and Scalpay – where a handful of customers are waiting to be reconnected – are proving extremely difficult to access as ferries, boats, aircraft and helicopters are all unable to travel to them due to the severe weather. All of those customers have been spoken to, either directly by phone or face-to-face to ensure they have contingency arrangements that will provide them with heating and meals.

Customers affected by the outages in the Highlands are being offered hotel accommodation and meals, with catering facilities located at various sites across the region and the British Red Cross has been helping the electricity distributor to provide additional hot food, drinks and blankets to vulnerable customers.

In the Western Isles efforts are being made to speak to each customer directly to offer them accommodation and meals in local hotels of their choice, with rooms at local hotels having already been booked for all of the customers in the area who are on SHEPD’s Priority Services Register. Through the night 400 litres of soup were distributed to customers with the assistance of Mountain Rescue. Generators, hot food and drinks are also being distributed to the area’s most vulnerable customers, with glow sticks and heat sources being delivered where required. SHEPD has also made provisions for hot meals and drinks to be available from local hotels in Stornoway and Tarbert.

Call centre colleagues have made thousands of outbound calls to customers without power and over 800 calls to those who are listed on the Priority Services Register, and those calls will continue for customers while they wait to have power restored.

Areas without power this afternoon are:

Dingwall rural 320 customers

Inverness rural 210 customers

Western Isles 180 customers

Wick rural 208 customers

SHEPD would like to assure its customers that it is doing everything possible to reconnect them at the earliest opportunity and thanks them for their patience while work is carried out to restore their power.