Engineers from Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) were out through the night into this morning (Tuesday January 14th) battling horrendous conditions to get power back on around Lewis and Harris.
Storm Brendan brought less power disruption than previous gales to the Western Isles, but where electricity was lost, engineers faced a struggle to solve the problem.
Two teams of engineers made a series of attempts late into the night to reach a fault close to Eilean Glas lighthouse in Scalpay, which had led to 67 customers on the island losing their supply.
It proved impossible to get to the location of the fault in extremely strong winds and icy rain. Engineers identified a new supply route to turn power back on to most customers, but a total of 18 customers on the Isle of Scalpay will be without power until 2pm today as two separate faults are rectified.
Some of the same engineers had already completed a long job at Leverburgh, where a power pole on the pier had caught fire, cutting the supply to 162 households. That job was completed around 7pm, by which time the team already knew they would be heading for Scalpay.
Customers in Balallan were the first of about 500 in the Laxay and South Lochs district to lose their electricity late yesterday evening. That issue was identified by a team close to midnight last night and all customers were switched back on around 4am.
Significant damage to the power lines at Cross Skigersta, Ness, has led to seven households finding themselves still without power after it went off at 8pm yesterday. The damage includes broken poles and a broken conductor.
Several teams of engineers are at the site now but a local SSEN spokesperson said there was “a lot of work” to be done replacing fallen poles and other damaged equipment. Power is expected to be restored by 4pm after another full day’s work by engineers.
The SSEN spokesperson said they were hoping for less disruption today, but would be using daylight hours to make visual checks on any areas of concern and also expected that some reports may come in from the public as they noticed damaged power equipment.
The advice from SSEN remains that members of the public should not approach any damaged power equipment, but should report it, or any power loss, by using the telephone number 105 or the SSEN PowerTrack app or webpage at https://www.ssen.co.uk/PowerTrack/
Pictures show a fallen power pole in North Uist yesterday (Jade Mannix), and Sir E Scott Tarbert pupil Rachael Johnstone carrying on her revision by candlelight in Balallan last night (Rhona Johnstone).