Aberdeenshire and Moray residents have been warned to prepare for it to be Friday for their power to be restored – a week after Storm Arwen swept the region.
More than 7,000 homes in the north-east are beginning a sixth day without electricity after strong winds wrought havoc on the network.
At the start of the week, Scottish and Southern Energy Networks (SSEN) estimated all homes would have the lights back on today.
However, now the power firm has warned it will now likely be Friday before all electricity is restored while Aberdeenshire Council has suggested disruption could last into the weekend.
Meanwhile, Energy Secretary Michael Matheson has committed to undertaking a review of the response to the storm to ensure “lessons can be learned”.
‘A hot shower would be nice’
This morning there were 5,700 homes in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire without power with a further 1,500 in Moray.
SSEN has been criticised for communication provided to communities about when they can expect to be reconnected.
Castle Fraser resident Kenny Anderson, who still has no power this morning, praised efforts from “heroes” working in all conditions to restore connection – but believes more maintenance on the network is necessary alongside clearer information from SSEN during the disruption.
He said: “Every day we get a text message saying it will be on by 6pm, then 6pm comes round and nothing has happened, then we get a text message saying it will be 6pm the next day.
“I’ve tried calling SSEN twice to speak to someone but I’ve given up both times after being on hold for an hour.
“At the moment it feels like it will always be tomorrow. It’s pretty grim.
“We have a gas cooker so we’re able to have hot food but we find we have to wear head torches when we cook. We also have open fires so we’re not as bad as some people – but a hot shower would be nice.
“It looks like the network here has grown organically since the 40s and 50s with different houses fed by different lines, I think that’s part of the problem.”
Graham Keddie, the firm’s director of corporate affairs, told BBC Radio Scotland teams were uncovering more faults as they attempted to repair damage.
Storm Arwen: 10.30am update
Power has been restored to over 105,000 customers in total, with 15,000 currently off supply.
— ssencommunity (@ssencommunity) November 30, 2021
He said: “For single homes or groups of homes we are looking into Friday for restoration now.
“The scale of Storm Arwen has caused devastating damage, particular in Aberdeenshire. It’s been a case of rebuilding power lines and almost reconfiguring the network in quick time.
“It’s challenging for us, but we’re getting through it. We restored another 10,000 customers on Tuesday.”
Lessons to be learned for future
Devastating 90mph winds from Storm Arwen swept across the north-east throughout Friday night and Saturday morning.
SSEN has revealed more than 1,000 points of damage to the power network have been reported in Aberdeenshire, Moray and the rest of the north following the weekend compared to just 150 from 2018’s Beast from the East.
The Scottish Government’s response to the emergency has been criticised by some residents affected as well as opposition parties at Holyrood.
Mr Matheson explained officials had been coordinating relief efforts between different agencies to ensure equipment and resources were targeted where they were needed most.
He told BBC Radio Scotland: “There are generators being supplied by energy suppliers to key sites, for instance care homes or where people have medical equipment at home.
“We are looking at situations where a local authority like Aberdeenshire could get support from a neighbouring area, like Moray, for instance, or where trunk road networks can also carry out some of the local work.
“We are undertaking to conduct a review once the present damage has been repaired across the network to see what further measures we can put in place for the future.”
SNP Aberdeenshire East MSP Gillian Martin has also called for a review after communities were forced to step in to provide support.
She said: “Once again the people of the north-east have shown their generosity and resilient spirit despite challenging circumstances.”
“In future it is important lessons are learned from what has happened following this storm.”
However, Scottish Conservatives North-East MSP Liam Kerr blamed a “monumental failure of planning” from the Scottish Government for the current situation.
He said: “Why weren’t lessons learned from Storm Frank? We knew this weather had been forecast days in advance.”