Storm Arwen was much worse than the Beast from the East

The damage caused to the electricity network by Storm Arwen – leaving many homes in Aberdeenshire without power – has been described as much more severe than that caused by the ‘Beast from the East’ in 2018.

By Kevin McRoberts
Thursday, 2nd December 2021, 7:38 am
SSEN engineers have been working in difficult and challenging conditions to repair the network.
SSEN engineers have been working in difficult and challenging conditions to repair the network.

The unusually low temperatures and heavy snowfall of the ‘Beast’ caused widespread disruption, but Mark Rough, Director of Customer Operations at SSEN, insisted this storm had been much more damaging.

Engineers from Scottish Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) have been working since the storm hit to reconnect thousands of homes and businesses to the power network.

The electricity distribution company is reponsible for the network in the north of Scotland, and its teams have been carrying out major repairs in much of Aberdeenshire.

Fallen trees caused multiple instances of damage to overhead cables.

Around 120,000 homes lost power due to the storm, mainly caused by falling trees damaging power cables.

Although the vast majority have been reconnected, some people had to endure a number of days without any heating or lighting, and a small number are still without electricity.

Mr Rough said additional teams were assisting with restoration efforts following extensive network damage.

He added: “Our teams have been responding to some of the most significant and challenging conditions experienced in the areas affected in decades, with catastrophic damage on several overhead circuits due to multiple instances of damage which need to be repaired before power can be restored.

“To put this is context, the damage caused by Storm Arwen is three times greater than we experienced from the Beast from the East in 2018.”

The extent of the damage also hampered the ability to re-route the network to restore supply.

Mr Rough apologised to all customers who had experienced, or continued to experience, disruption to their supply, and said all available resources were being focused on restoring power.

As well as hundreds of field staff, and extra support staff, helicopters were used to be monitor overhead circuits and assess the extent of damage, and extensive mobile generation was deployed to assist with power restoration.

Welfare facilities were also established for customers who remained off supply.