Saturday 20 December 2014

ESB crews in race to restore power before storms set in again

Outages force over 20 bank and post office branches to close

Majella O'Sullivan and Sarah McCabe

Published 14/02/2014 | 02:30

Workers Michael Down and Martin Dineen from clean up after the storm that knocked a tree on top of a Bar in Tralee
ESB Networks crews work to repair damage to the Charleville to Killonan 110kv electricity transmission line following the storm

THOUSANDS of homes could be left without electricity or mobile networks for the weekend as crews battle to restore power before bad weather sets in again.

Bank and post office customers have also been left without services as power shortages and bad road conditions forced the closure of over 20 branches.

Up to 80,000 ESB customers were without power overnight in parts of Wicklow, Wexford and Munster. Crews began work at 7am this morning in the worst affected areas having worked until 11pm last night to restore power to 145,000 customers.

This morning, 115,000 customers around the country were still without power as the company struggled to cope with the fallout from one of the worst storms to hit the country since records began, bringing in crews from Northern Ireland Electricity as well as private contractors.

ESB divisional manager for the south Denis Cambridge said it was one of the worst clean-up operations he had ever taken part in.

"We have pulled resources from every part of the company and beyond to get the lights back on as quickly as we can. It is a mammoth task. In Cork and Kerry alone we have over 3,200 individual faults to get to, and we are working against the clock before the next of the bad weather sets in," he said.

Mobile phone customers were still without power in parts of Kerry last night and there were also disruptions to services in Clare.

Banks and post offices around the country shut down as the bad weather continued.

A total of 13 AIB branches closed in some of the worst storm-affected locations, including branches at Tipperary, Cashel, Kilrush, Mallow, Abbeyfeale, Bantry, Cahirciveen, Castleisland, Castletownbere, Clonakilty, Dingle, Dunmanway, Killorglin and Skibbereen.

Postal services, meanwhile, were disrupted at a large number of post offices across counties Kerry, Limerick and Clare.

TANKERS

Bank of Ireland closed its doors in 10 locations due to power outages, including branches at Kilmallock, Scariff, Tulla, Askeaton, Kilmacthomas, Borris, Durrow, Urlingford, Monasterevin and Tinahely.

A bank spokesperson said it had engineers on site and that some staff were still available at the locations.

Irish Water and local authorities are also providing tankers at a number of locations affected by water outages. However, they are advising consumers to bring their own containers and to boil the water before use.

Meanwhile, about 30 residents of Killarney Nursing Home, who were evacuated when the roof of the home collapsed, are being accommodated in hotels. A further 19 were transferred to St Columbanus Nursing Home in the town.

Irish Independent

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