Power cuts hit thousands of homes

THOUSANDS of households across south-west Scotland were left without power after the worst blizzard on 50 years swept across the region bring down electricity lines.

On Friday six to eight inches of show fell with strong easterly winds whipping the show into deep drifts. Over 100 cars were abandoned on the A75 near Palnure after a lorry jack-knifed and the many travellers were put up for the night in shelters in Newton Stewart and Stranraer. Snow ploughs fought a losing battle as the snow overwhelmed all forms of transport. Cars were abandoned, disappearing under a blanket of show as some drivers set off on foot.

In the countryside, farmers in the middle of the lambing season battled, sometimes in vain, to save ewes and new born lambs from being buried alive in deep drifts.

Most towns and villages loss of power but the community spirit shone though with soup kitchens set up to feed the elderly and shops opened up, without power for the tills, but quickly sold out of gas canisters and candles. No papers, post, bread or milk reached many outlying villages until Monday morning when power was back on in the majority of homes.

A spokesman for Scottish Power said: “Over 10,000 homes were affected when the storm stuck on Friday from Portpartrick up to Barrhill, down to Newton Stewart and the Machars.

By Saturday was had 6,000 still off but by late Saturday, early Sunday that was down to 3,000. This morning (Monday) there are still 300 households with out power and 50 of those have been off since Friday morning.

The problems our engineers had were getting to the damaged poles as the roads were completely blocked. We worked closely with Dumfries and Galloway Council and Transport Scotland and went in behind them as they dug the roads out. Normally in a situation like this we would use helicopters to get the engineers into the poles but the visibility was so bad on Friday and Saturday we couldn’t use them until Sunday.

“We still have 200 engineers that worked through the night Saturday and Sunday on site as there are still poles down due to the ice.”

Scottish Power will set up a bureau internally to look at who is eligible for compensation and they will then be contacting all customers entitled.