Engineers working to restore power to 40,000 homes have said it could be as late as Wednesday before “small clusters” of properties are back online.
Helicopters will be scouting the power lines across the north-east today to identify the issues, as Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) remains on red alert following the weekend storms.
Winds of more than 90mph battered the north and north-east last night – with 92mph recorded at Inverbervie – higher than both Storm Arwen or Malik.
SSEN say that of the 68,000 customers affected by Storm Malik, around 7,000 remain off-supply – mainly in pockets across Aberdeenshire – and these households are being prioritised. It is expected the vast majority will have their power restored today, or at the latest by tomorrow night.
Early assessments show around 38,000 customers were hit by Storm Corrie, with 4,000 now back on grid.
Of the remaining 33,000 still without power, around 19,000 relate to two major faults affecting customers in the Stonehaven area (13,000) and Deeside (6,000) which are being worked on and are expected to be restored later today. Engineers are hopeful restoration will be completed by Tuesday but say for a “small cluster” it may extend into Wednesday.
Fresh wind warning issued
As of 10.15am, there were outages in 248 postcode areas including those surrounding Alford, Kemnay, Westhill and Newmachar.
Moray Council reported about 150 properties in the Rothiemay and Dunphail area were without power at the same time.
Our engineer, Greg Warrender, is working in Banchory today to repair damage caused by this weekend’s storms.
— ssencommunity (@ssencommunity) January 31, 2022
Richard Gough, director of distribution system operations at SSEN, said: “Our teams have continued to make strong progress restoring power to customers impacted by the extreme weather from Storm Malik, with over 90% of those customers restored.
“Whilst our teams are making every effort to restore customers as soon as possible, the cumulative impact of Storms Malik and Corrie has compounded the restoration challenge. As a result, we are advising customers that while expected restoration of customer supplies from Storm Malik remains Tuesday evening, restoration times for some of those impacted by Storm Corrie may now extend to Wednesday.
“We would like to apologise to all customers affected and would like to reassure them that all available resources have been deployed to support with restoration efforts and our teams are doing all they can to restore power as quickly as possible, where it is safe to do so.”
Earlier today, Graham Keddie, SSEN director of corporate affairs, told Good Morning Scotland that the team would focus on large populations, with teams “scouting” the lines with helicopters.
‘Carbon copy’ of Storm Arwen
Douglas Morrison, from Kemnay, is one of those without power and said it felt very similar to Storm Arwen back in November.
He told Good Morning Scotland: “We got power for three hours yesterday then the winds got up again.
“We took a torch to bed with us, and almost immediately the power went off again. We are back to where we were.
“It is like a carbon copy of last time with Storm Arwen.”
“In Kemnay a burger van was put on by the power company so we went down for some breakfast.
“As soon as the power came on yesterday the spirits totally changed. In the last four storms we have had three power cuts. I don’t know if the storms are more intense or if there is a weakness in the network.
“It is a little bit depressing.”
Pauline Thom, from Huntly, is not only struggling with the lack of power to stay warm or make food, but also Covid.
“I have got Covid so I can not go out and access food or get water or anything,” she told the radio programme.
“I have tried phoning the electric company and Scottish Water but I can’t get through. I can not get on the internet so my sons are coming back and forth. I had a chipper last night and bless, the chipper sent me some free water.
“Everything in the freezer has totally gone.”
‘Cumulative effects’ of storm slowing restoration
An SSEN spokeswoman said: “The main areas which continue to be affected are rural Aberdeenshire, with pockets of customers also off supply in Angus, the Highlands, the Moray Coast and Perthshire.
“Due to the cumulative impact of Storm Malik and the anticipated damage caused by Storm Corrie, SSEN expects that full customer restoration will extend into the early part of this week, particularly in rural areas in Aberdeenshire.
“For customers without power who need support and are unable to make alternative arrangements to stay with family or a friend, SSEN will reimburse reasonable costs for alternative accommodation.
SSEN is urging people to not approach any damage to its equipment and instead, report it to SSEN by calling 105 or via its Power Track App and engineers will investigate as soon as possible.