Storm Arwen: Thousands spend fourth night without power amid 'catastrophic damage'

30 November 2021, 12:29 | Updated: 30 November 2021, 12:41

A tree blocking a road in Edinburgh during Storm Arwen

Alan Zycinski

By Alan Zycinski

Thousands of people have spent a fourth night without power amid "catastrophic damage" caused by Storm Arwen.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

At least 17,000 homes across Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Moray, Angus and Perthshire still have no supply.

Rest centres with supplies have been set up in communities with residents battling plummeting temperatures - minus 7C was recorded at Loch Glascarnoch on Sunday - and -5.7C at Tulloch Bridge.

Power was knocked out as hurricane-force 100mph gusts of winds, heavy snow and rain battered the UK on Friday.

Three people died as trees fell during the storm which the Met Office had a rare red alert in place for.

Scottish and Southern Electricty Networks has retained its red-alert status and described damage as "catastrophic".

Read more: Storm Arwen: Three dead, 100mph gales, floods, snow and thousands without power

Read more: 60 punters face third night trapped in Britain’s highest pub after Storm Arwen snow dump

Storm Arwen arrives to batter UK with high winds

A spokesperson said: "Since the start of Storm Arwen at around lunchtime on Friday, power has been restored to over 103,000 customers in total, with 17,000 customers currently off supply.

"This includes: Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire: 9,700, Moray: 3,500, Angus: 1,600 and Perthshire: 1,700."

Mark Rough, director of customer operations at SSEN, said: "We continue to make good progress following the extensive network damage caused by Storm Arwen, with additional teams assisting with restoration efforts and major connections made to locations such as Ballater and Braemar.

Read more: I'm A Celebrity axes live broadcast over Storm Arwen fears

"Our engineers are still experiencing challenging conditions and multiple faults on individual circuits, with complex repairs under way that will take longer than normal.

"The extent of the damage is also hampering the ability to re-route the network to restore supply.

"We recognise that another day without power brings additional concern to those affected, and I'd like to apologise to all customers for the ongoing disruption and assure them that we are doing all we can to restore power.

"We continue to prioritise support for vulnerable customers, through co-ordination with our resilience partners, and are also offering to reimburse reasonable costs for accommodation, where customers do not have any alternative option."

Storm Arwen damage in Hopeman, Scotland.
Storm Arwen damage in Hopeman, Scotland. Picture: Getty

With Customer Contact Centre lines remaining extremely busy, we continue to encourage customers impacted to only phone if it is an emergency or if they need extra help, to keep the line clear for vulnerable customers who may need extra support."

SSEN continues to work closely with local and national resilience partners to help coordinate the community response.

As part of this, support is being prioritised for the most vulnerable Priority Services Register customers.

Rest centres have also been established at the following locations: Ballater at the Victoria and Albert Hall, Eassie & Nevay Hall, Fintry, Knockraich Farm, Strathyre Primary School, Aberfoyle Primary School and Doune Primary School.

In addition, the following welfare facilities will continue to support customers who remain off supply and will continue to provide hot food and drinks from 7am on Tuesday November 30.

Teams from SSEN, using 4X4 vehicles, will deliver hot food and drinks to customers on SSEN's Priority Services Register in some of the more remote and isolated communities.