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Weather / Power still off for thousands but extra crew arrive in isles

Parts of the West Mainland and Voe may have to wait longest for restored power

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

EFFORTS to restore power to areas affected by severe weather conditions in Shetland were boosted this morning by the arrival of an extra 15 power line crews at first light, with further teams and equipment due over the next 24 hours.

Engineers arrived on the first ferry from the mainland and Orkney to assist local teams, with more crews leaving for Shetland throughout the course of today.

In total, 125 additional engineers will support local Shetland teams in the restoration effort.

As of 11.45am this morning (Wednesday) around 2,800 properties remain off supply in areas like the North Mainland, Whalsay, Yell and the West Mainland.

SSEN Distribution said: “While we expect to make continued good progress over the next 24 hours, it remains likely that for some customers, particularly in West Mainland and parts of Voe, full restoration will extend to the end of this week.

“This is due to the extent of significant network damage caused by line icing, where snow and ice accumulate on overhead power lines and the huge additional weight causes them to break.”

The company said it will continue to work very closely with Shetland Islands Council, the Care for People Group and the Local Resilience Partnership to ensure extra support is provided to those who need it through the coordination of welfare and the connection of mobile generation to power rest centres.

Plans for this will be communicated later today.

SSEN Distribution said it recognised that extended power outages are challenging for its customers and for those currently affected it is offering to reimburse reasonable food costs for a hot meal if customers can travel safely to areas with power.

Customers are entitled to claim up to £30 per person for every 24 hours they are without power and are asked to keep copies of their receipts.

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For customers on its Priority Services Register without power and who are unable to make alternative arrangements to travel and stay with a family member or friend, it is offering to reimburse reasonable costs for alternative accommodation.

Anyone who may need support in arranging alternative accommodation should call the customer contact centre on 105.

Mark Macdonald, head of region at SSEN Distribution, said: “Through great collaboration with resilience and travel partners, we’re getting teams, equipment, and large-scale generation on the island now to help us enact our restoration plan and make continued progress in restoring power to our customers.

“We’ve had 15 power line crews arrive on the first ferry this morning, with another 15 crews leaving tonight and many more expected to arrive by plane and helicopter to support our local teams.

“Now that it’s safe to fly, we’re organising helicopter patrols to fly our overhead lines and assess the extent of the damage, which will help us better target our restoration strategy.

“The welfare of our customers is vitally important to us and we’re offering to reimburse food costs for all customers currently without power and reasonable accommodation costs for customers on our Priority Services Register who are unable to make alternative arrangements.

“I’d continue to encourage anyone who has any concerns for themselves or others, particularly family members or neighbours who may need extra support, to give our teams a call on 105.

“We’d like to thank our customers for their continued patience as our teams battle challenging weather conditions to restore power as quickly as possible.”

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