Friday 19 January 2018

Families endure 6th day minus power

Many homes are still without power for a sixth day after heavy snowfall in Scotland
Many homes are still without power for a sixth day after heavy snowfall in Scotland

Around 1,200 homes in the west of Scotland remained without power for a sixth day, following a problem with mobile generators.

Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) said it still hoped to reconnect all affected customers in Arran and Kintyre by Thursday night despite "technical problems" leaving many in darkness for another night.

Snow damaged large sections of the network, toppling two transmission pylons and cutting the power to around 18,000 properties last Friday. Roads blocked by up to 15ft (4.5m) snow drifts slowed the recovery of the network and transportable generators have been deployed to the affected areas throughout the week.

An SSE spokesman said the majority of affected properties remained on Arran with 80 still without electricity in Kintyre. "It had been our aim to connect the community at Blackwaterfoot (Arran) but there has been a technical problem with the generator which has prevented connection," he said.

Locals in Campbeltown in the Kintyre peninsula said that in many cases community spirit had got people through the worst of the weather and blackout. Community centres and vans provided by SSE have been providing hot food, drinks and shower facilities to many people cut off and the local Coop store remained open when its tills lost power by accepting "IOUs" rather than cash.

Tourist industry leaders are eager for full power to be restored by the weekend with thousands of people expected to visit Arran over the Easter break.

North Ayrshire Council leader Willie Gibson said: "It has been an outstanding team effort from everyone involved: local people, volunteers, partner bodies, emergency services and our own staff. And on behalf of North Ayrshire Council I wish to extend our thanks to each and every one of them."

North Ayrshire Council chief executive Elma Murray said they were a "bit disappointed" that one of the generators being used on the island had had technical problems, leaving people without power.

But she told BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme on Thursday: "We are remaining optimistic that we will get back on the grid by the weekend and certainly a lot of work will be done today."

Ms Murray said the council's work during the severe weather had been focused on clearing the roads and looking after those living on the island, with social care staff "doing a significant amount of work".

Press Association

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