Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN), who own and operate the electricity distribution network in the north of Scotland, remain on Yellow Alert in anticipation of Storm Barbara.
Following continued monitoring of the emerging weather front, SSEN’s weather models anticipate a period of sustained high winds across the Western Isles, North West Highland, Orkney and Shetland, with wind gusts of over 90 mph from the afternoon of Friday, December 23, and in to Saturday, December 24.
Other parts of the north of Scotland are likely to see winds gusts of up to 70mph.
Due to the wind speeds forecast it is anticipated there will be disruption to power supplies. In response, SSEN has increased the levels of frontline and support staff and is moving engineers, equipment and welfare facilities to strategic areas, including the islands.
· 600 frontline and support staff are on hand across the Christmas period, some five times the normal number who would be available
· Around 100 mobile generation units are strategically positioned to help restore power in the event of faults to the network
· 20 welfare vans are available and ready to be deployed to affected areas, should they be required
· Outbound calls being made to over 1,400 customers on SSEN’s Priority Service Register to assess needs and offer extra assistance, where required
· Given disruption to travel services, helicopters and fixed-wing planes are on standby to assist with the movement of engineers and equipment, where it is safe to do so.
SSEN will continue to track weather reports for the weekend and beyond – with a further weather front expected to bring more high winds to the Western Isles, North-west Highland, Orkney and Shetland.
Dale Cargill, Director of Customer Operations for SSEN, said: “We have been tracking Storm Barbara for a number of days and our well established contingency plans are in place. With over 600 frontline and support staff on hand across the festive period we are well prepared to respond quickly to disruption to supplies, where it is safe to do so. We are acutely aware of the time of year and the increasing concern this brings and would like to reassure our customers we will be doing all we can to keep disruption to a minimum.
“Any customers who do suffer a loss of power can contact us on the new national power cut helpline – 105 – where they can also advise if they require extra support from our priority service.”
People can qualify for the Priority Service Register (PSR) if they:
· Are dependent on electricity for home medical care
· Have a chronic illness or short term medical condition
· Are disabled
· Have special communication needs
· Have a young baby or receive a state pension.
To find out more about the PSR, click here or call 0800 294 3259.
For more details of SSEN’s preparation for Storm Barbara please see the following videos:
https://vimeo.com/196755895 or https://vimeo.com/196722756
SSEN’s network is resilient in these weather conditions but in anticipation of possible disruption to power supplies, it encourages customers to be prepared. This can done by:
· Saving the new emergency power cut number – 105 – to your phone to use if your power goes off, or if you see any damage to the electricity network.
· Downloading SSEN’s Power Track app to give you details of power cuts and restoration times.
· Going to SSEN’s Ready For Winter pages where there is a wealth of advice and information on how to prepare for a possible loss of power.
· Following SSEN on Facebook and Twitter for regular updates.
Members of the public should not approach fallen or damaged power lines, which may still be live.