Shetland power outage: what caused it, how many affected and how long could power be out for?
A major incident was declared in Shetland earlier this week
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Hundreds of homes have been left without power for a sixth day in Shetland after heavy snowfall caused chaos.
Engineers have reconnected hundreds of homes on the islands but around 350 are still waiting for power to return. A major after thousands of homes lost power on Monday (12 December) afternoon after the lines were brought down.
Significant snowfall and freezing temperatures caused power failures on the Scottish Islands. Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) Distribution said a 160-strong team is now focused on the areas experiencing the worst of the damage caused by line icing.
This occurred where snow and ice accumulated on large sections of power line, bringing down overhead lines and breaking wooden electricity poles. As of 5.30pm on Saturday (17 December), around 350 properties remained without power in Clousta, Murrister to Snarraness and Bayhall to Whiteness, while 350 homes were reconnected earlier in the day.
SSEN Distribution said it is confident that the final properties will be reconnected by Sunday (18 December) afternoon, subject to no unforeseen challenges. Fresh warnings for snow and ice are in place for tomorrow:
Why is Shetland without power?
The power outage comes after temperatures plummeted in Scotland this week. Temperatures dropped to a record low of -17.3C was recorded at Braemar in Aberdeenshire on Monday (12 December).
Engineers from Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) Distribution are still working to restore supplies to about 2,400 properties. The power failure happened after significant snowfall caused disruption.
Where are the power outages?
The outages are into a fourth day, having first being reported on Monday evening. The Scottish Government declared a major incident for Shetland on Tuesday (13 December).
Originally 2,800 properties were affected by the power failure. SSEN Distribution is still working to restore power to 2,400 properties in Voe, Brae, Yell and the West Mainland which remain off supply.
When will the power be restored?
Mark Macdonald, head of region at SSEN Distribution, said: “With additional crews on Shetland today to bolster our army of engineers, we continue to make excellent progress ahead of our forecasts, restoring power to 350 properties through the course of the day. Our teams will continue to work throughout the evening and will be back out at first light tomorrow to push on with the final restoration effort. Barring no unforeseen challenges, we’re confident we can restore power to all remaining properties by Sunday afternoon.
“We understand the challenges communities are facing after days without power and would like to thank Shetland Islands Council, our resilience partners and local communities for their ongoing support in coordinating warm hubs for local residents. We’re proactively calling all customers without power to check on their welfare and would urge anyone who needs support to call us on 105.”
SSEN Distribution also advised customers that some properties may need to be temporarily disconnected for a short period of time as it “energises” additional sections of the network. It said this is necessary to avoid the risk of overloading the circuit and damage to equipment which would lead to a longer power interruption for customers.
Once power has been restored to all properties and final assessments carried out, customers will be entitled to compensation under the regulated Guaranteed Standards of Performance.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon addressed the situation in Shetland during First Minister’s Questions on Thursday. She said SSEN is making “every effort” to restore power.
Can you claim compensation?
Once power has been restored to all properties and final assessments carried out, customers will be entitled to compensation under the regulated Guaranteed Standards of Performance. For power interruptions over 48 hours, customers will receive £70, with a further £70 for every subsequent 12-hour period they were off supply.
Warnings of wintry weather have been issued for many parts of Scotland over the weekend. A yellow weather warning of ice is in force in northern Scotland, Orkney and Shetland until 8am on Sunday.
And a yellow warning of snow and ice has been issued for much of mainland Scotland from 7am until 9pm on Sunday.