ALMOST 70 people turned out to a meeting with Scottish Power last Thursday to discuss a persistent loss of power in the Rhins in 2011-2012, which came ahead of a promise of substantial infrastructure improvements following cuts in Garlieston, Portpatrick and the Lochans too.
And local grid manager Neil Carruthers admitted to the concerned residents that the company had failed them but added that of the list put before him outlining the number of power cuts in and around the Kirkcolm area, nearly half were due to severe weather conditions.
Former Douglas Ewart High School teacher Dr Barry Miller suggested that old equipment was to blame for the constant plaguing cuts which had lefts ome families forced to spend substantial amounts of cash for food, generators, lanterns and fuel.
Mr Carruthers said that broken insulators were likely to be at fault, but added that these could have been damaged by high winds and that by 4th January, Scottish Power were exhausted due to the extent of national outages and that a decision was taken to halt the Kirkcolm area repairs until daylight.
After making their case and demanding action, Johan Gillespie, customer liason officer, agreed to a payment of compensation after admitting that more than four incidents of a loss of supply in a year was unacceptable.
She explained that standard compensation consisted of a £54 payment to domestic and £108 to business customers if a non-weather related break in supply of 18hours plus occurred with a further £27 for each additional period of 12 hours.
Councillor Willie Scobie said afterwards that he had met with over a 100 people over two meetings concerning the power cuts experience in the North Rhins part of the Ward which have been occurring more frequently since October/November time and have been more prolonged over the month of December and going into January 2012.
He said: “In total, the area from Soleburn going towards the Dhuloch and Ervie and north to Mahaar and Corswell, the area has suffered 34 officially recorded high voltage cuts by Scottish Power with the vast majority of
the people within the aforementioned area suffering even more unrecorded low level power cuts in the financial year since April 2011.”
Having also met with MP Russell Brown on Friday, Scottish Power has agreed with Ofgem to fund an investment plan totalling £2.6 billion between 2013 and 2021 for Dumfries and Galloway. Scottish Power also agreed to bring forward their inspection programme.
A Scottish Power spokeswoman said that of the 34 recorded cuts, many affected only one or two customers and that 15 occurred during the storms of December.
She added: “We were pleased to meet with the local councillor and speak directly to residents in the area at a public meeting last week. We discussed the number of incidents on this particular circuit from January last year until early January this year. Not all customers were affected by the same faults a number of the incidents relate to one or two customers only.
“Over the winter this area experienced severe gale force winds on a number of occasions. These gales caused extensive damage, including damage to our power lines. We understand that power interruptions are frustrating, and we apologise for the inconvenience this caused to our customers.
“We are committed to providing the highest levels of service to all of our customers, and we will continue to work hard to ensure that electricity supplies are as robust as possible in this area.”