independent

Saturday 21 April 2018

ESB used helicopters to reach cut-off areas

An ESB Networks crew member working in Curracloe beside the helicopter which transported him to the area
An ESB Networks crew member working in Curracloe beside the helicopter which transported him to the area

Maria Pepper

ESB Networks used private helicopters to transport crews to inaccessible parts of the county over the weekend, in order to restore power to thousands of homes, farms and businesses that were left without electricity.

Up to a total of 20,000 customers in County Wexford lost power due to exceptionally heavy snow coupled with high winds.

At the height of the weather crisis on Friday, there were 18,000 families without power at one time in the county as a result of the storm.

On Saturday morning, approximately 16,000 customers had no electricity in Wexford with about four-fifths of the faults in the south of the county under a line between New Ross and Wexford town.

ESB workers were drafted in from other areas of Ireland which were not as badly affected but while resources were available, there were serious challenges in reaching areas cut off by snowdrifts and fallen trees.

Wexford County Council assisted electricity crews by clearing roads with snowploughs while the Defence Forces and Air Corps helicopters were on standby.

ESB Networks set itself a target of getting power back to the county within 24 to 36 hours.

Crews made good progress throughout Saturday and by 5pm in the evening, electricity had been restored to 13,000 customers. The operation continued on Sunday and by Monday morning, ESB Networks had restored electrity to all remaining households and businesses apart from 30 customers in small pockets around Curracloe, Enniscorthy and Wexford town.

Staff contacted these customers directly on Sunday night and discovered that some of them are holiday homes.

'Our crews continue to work this morning to ensure every remaining home, farm and business is reconnected', said a spokesman on Monday morning.

'This has been a great team effort and we would particularly like to thank Wexford County Council, the Defence Forces, An Garda Siochana, the HSE, Civil Defence and all the other people and agencies that assisted our staff in the cold weather over the past few days', he said.

'We all understand how difficulty it is to be without power in times like this.ESB Networks has urged people to remain vigilant as there may still be some low hanging electricity wires that have not yet been reported.If anyone has concerns about low wires, trees touching wires or wires on the ground, they should telephone 1850 372 999

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