independent

Friday 18 April 2014

How contingency plans will work if supply is cut off

DART train

* COURTS

Civil cases will go ahead, except where health and safety is an issue. Criminal cases outside Dublin must be transferred to the next sitting, or to a court directed by the judge, and cannot proceed. This is because proceedings must be recorded in the event of an appeal.

In Dublin, all criminal cases can go ahead. This is because the Criminal Courts of Justice on Parkgate Street have automatic ancillary power, and will not be disconnected in the event of a blackout.

* LOCAL AUTHORITIES

Risk assessments being carried out by Fingal County Council and other councils. Among the key concerns are wastewater treatment plants, drinking water treatment plants, pumping stations and traffic signals.

"Fingal County Council is putting together a full risk assessment to understand what contingency measures we would need to put in place in the event of a widespread outage," a spokeswoman said.

Dublin City Council said it would not comment as talks with the ESB were ongoing.

* RETAIL

Shops are likely to close and send workers home, as they cannot work without power for health and safety reasons.

* TRANSPORT

Luas, DART and railway stations are on a priority supply, meaning they are less likely to be cut-off. Contingencies will be in place for specific areas, including automatic level crossings – which will have to be manned – and for the manual fuelling of trains.

Generators are in place for critical functions including signalling and the central traffic control which runs the network.

The Dublin Port Tunnel will be closed if power is cut-off, but tolled roads will continue to operate. Variable message signs will be available for emergency messages.

* HOSPITALS

Acute general hospitals will not be affected, as they are on a so-called "hospital line" where power is not cut-off. Other priority supplies include garda stations, fire stations and key government departments.

* BUSINESS

Generators will be used to power major food producers, including the Kerry Group and Largo Foods, but they will add substantially to costs.

Airlines, including Ryanair, said they did not believe a strike would impact on business, while major data centres operated by Google, Amazon and Microsoft have independent power sources that will kick-in if the main power goes down.

* SCHOOLS

Schools will still be open for a week from the December 16 deadline, with most breaking up for the Christmas break from Friday December 20.

Irish Independent

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