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Community / Generators powering Papa Stour after fault with subsea electricity cable

The large generator being put in place in Papa Stour on Thursday 15 February after a ferry trip from the Shetland mainland. Photo: Papa Stour History and Community Group

A FAULT with the subsea power cable which runs to Papa Stour has meant the island’s homes have been running off generators for more than a fortnight.

SSEN staff initially brought in generators to maintain stable supplies to 20 customers.

However, one large generator has now arrived on the island which will replace the need for individual ones.

A spokesperson for SSEN Distribution said this set-up will be in place until the fault has been resolved.

They did not respond to suggestion locally that the cable may need to be replaced.

Supplies first tripped on the small island off Shetland’s West Mainland, which is accessed by a 40-minute ferry, shortly after 8pm on 31 January.

The SSEN spokesperson said: “We can confirm there is a fault affecting the cable connecting Papa Stour.

Papa Stour. Photo: Shetland News

“Our engineering teams are conducting site investigations to help inform a restoration plan.

“Our priority is to deliver a safe, secure and reliable supply to our customers, and following the fault on our subsea cable to Papa Stour we have been using our own mobile generation fleet along with plant from our Lerwick-based contract partner to power the local community.

“Over this coming weekend our local teams will be switching the 20 impacted supplies over to one single Aggreko generator appliance, housed in a purpose-built site on the island, until our permanent restoration plan is finalised.

“We thank our customers in Papa Stour for their patience while we do this.”

Local resident Andy Holt praised SSEN staff who had been coming in regularly to refuel the generators.

An electricity cable connecting Papa Stour to the Shetland mainland has been in place since the early 1990s.

Holt said the cable had to be replaced once in the past, adding that it is laid across a rocky route with strong tides.

“Any tiny movement in that cable…eventually it begins to roll on the ocean bed and wear through,” he said.

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