More than 5,000 Scottish homes remain without electricity for a sixth night in the wake of Storm Arwen.
Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) has reconnected more than 120,000 customers following “catastrophic damage” caused by Friday’s storm, and hopes to restore power to an additional 2,500 homes overnight.
The majority of those still without supply are in rural communities in areas including Aberdeenshire, Moray, Angus, Perthshire and Stirlingshire.
Chris Burchell, SSEN managing director, described Storm Arwen as a “once in a generation extreme weather event” and said the company was doing all it could to restore power “as quickly as possible”.
He added: “As our teams continue to make good progress repairing and restoring the high voltage network in what remains very challenging conditions, we are increasingly turning our focus to the low voltage network, which serves single or groups of homes, often in rural and isolated communities.
“Whilst the low voltage network only serves a fraction of the customers the high voltage network supplies, the repairs required to restore power are just as challenging and complex, which in some cases will require the rebuild of entire sections of overhead line.
“We therefore encourage all customers who remain off supply, particularly where overhead network infrastructure supplies single or small groups of houses, to consider making alternative arrangements.
“This includes our enhanced welfare provisions, with our teams proactively contacting customers to help coordinate support where possible.”
SSEN has said it will reimburse all reasonable accommodation costs for any customer unable to make alternative arrangements.
Customers unable to access the company’s welfare facilities for free hot food and drinks can also claim the cost of takeaways or meals from local establishments, up to £15 per person.
Energy Secretary Michael Matheson earlier said the Scottish Government had been offering help through co-ordination arrangements.
He told BBC Good Morning Scotland: “If there are mutual aid requirements that need to be provided by local authorities then we help to make sure those co-ordinations are taken forward.
“So there’s a range of different measures that we help to support local authorities, who are responsible for local resilience on the ground, to ensure that if they need extra help that that is being deployed.”
Speaking in the House of Commons on Wednesday, UK Government Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng promised to do everything possible to restore power to homes affected by Storm Arwen before Christmas.