Energy / SSEN says it might be end of week before all properties have power reconnected

Local teams have described the conditions as the worst they’ve seen in over 20 years

A fallen power line in South Nesting. Photo: Adam Priest

SOME households in Shetland may be without power for the rest of the week, according to Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) Distribution.

As of 11am this morning (Tuesday) engineers have restored power to over 2,500 properties – but 3,800 homes are currently off in areas like Voe, Whalsay, Brae, Tumblin, Yell and Unst.

In an update provided this morning the company said all efforts are being made to restore customer supplies as “soon as practically possible, but our teams are experiencing extremely challenging conditions”.

“Weather-related travel delays are also restricting the ability to send additional operational teams to the island,” it added.

“We expect to make progress today in restoring customers on Yell and Unst through repair of the main network, but due to the extent of damage, significant travel restrictions and continued issues accessing fault locations, full restoration of customers is likely to extend to the end of this week.


“This is particularly the case for outlying islands and localised faults and further information will be shared once all faults are assessed.”

SSEN Distribution said it recognised the impact this may have on customers and is working closely with local resilience partners to identify those who may need additional support and coordinate welfare arrangements.

Photo: SSEN Distribution

It has also proactively contacted over 700 customers on our Priority Services Register and this communication will continue until supplies are restored.

The majority of faults have been caused by ‘line icing’, a rare occurrence where, at a certain temperature, snow and ice sticks to overhead power lines and accumulates, adding significant weight to the lines and causing them to break.

This has caused multiple points of damage on Shetland’s overhead line network.

SSEN Distribution’s Mark Macdonald said: “Following the impact of significant snowfall and extreme weather conditions in Shetland over the past 24 hours, our engineers have been out since first light this morning to continue restoration efforts.

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“Access issues, complex repairs and ongoing adverse weather have resulted in significantly challenging conditions for our local teams.

“We’ve seen extensive damage to the overhead power lines connecting homes and businesses, including multiple points of damage caused by snow and ice accretion which was not forecast. Our local teams have described the conditions as the worst they’ve seen in over 20 years.

“We’re moving engineers from the mainland to Shetland to assist with restoration efforts and have multiple teams ready to travel, pending improvements in the current travel situation. We’re also working with resilience partners to look at all alternative travel options.

“I’d like to reassure our customers we’re doing everything we can to restore power as quickly as possible and would encourage anyone who may be in a vulnerable situation to contact us on the power cut helpline, 105.”

A further update will be provided at 5.30pm today.

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