Thousands of islanders were yesterday cut off from the electricity grid after a landslide near Invergarry resulted in 23,000 customers going without power for hours.
Schools and businesses across Skye and the Western Isles were affected with over 1,000 children sent home due to the power shortage.
The fault occurred shortly after 9am after the landslide west of Invergarry damaged the overhead line network. Engineers on behalf of power supplier Scottish and Southern Energy Networks (SSEN) were yesterday frantically attempting to restore power to all affected, with some homes not reconnected until after 6.30pm.
Welfare facilities were set up by the energy provider at Jansvans café in Portree and in the Uig Village Hall with free food and drink on offer for those affected.
A SSEN spokeswoman said: “SSEN has now restored supplies to all 23,000 customers in the Western Isles and on Skye who were affected by a fault on its transmission network this morning.
“SSEN received reports of the fault shortly after 9am and immediately started carrying out investigations. This included the deployment of a helicopter patrol, which identified damage to the overhead line network west of Invergarry caused by a landslip and significant rockfall.
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“Due to the nature of the fault, supplies have been restored by re-routing power from other parts of the network, utilising back-up power stations and the deployment of mobile generation.
“Work to carry out repairs to the damaged line will take place as soon as essential safety checks have been concluded, including an assessment of rock stability and the risk of a further landslip in the area.
SSEN would like to apologise to anyone affected by today’s fault and would like to thank its customers for their patience whilst its teams worked hard to restore power. Any customers with additional concerns as a result of today’s fault are advised to contact SSEN via the power cut helpline, 105.”
As a result of the landslide, approximately 9000tonnes of soil and rock have blocked the road between Loch Garry and Kinloch Hourn.
A Highland Council spokeswoman said: “The route will remain closed while work to clean up the debris takes place. This will be followed by safety inspections to the slope and, if required, any stabilisation works will be carried out before the road reopens to the public.
“Arrangements are being made for residents and guests at the Kinloch Hourn end of the road.”
Schools were forced to close their doors yesterday as a result of the outage, with three schools in the Western Isles and nine on Skye closing early.
A spokesman for Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles Council) said: “We had three schools close today due to the outage. These were Uig, Berneray and Lionel Primary Schools. The schools were unable to feed the children without power supply and concerns were raised over the toilet systems.
“Gradually during the day areas have been restored.”