Teaming up together, the UK’s electricity network companies are working with the Irish network operator ESB Networks to restore power to customers following Storm Ophelia. Over 200 dedicated men and women, including lines teams and engineers, are travelling from Great Britain, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man to assist ESB in repairing infrastructure damaged by Storm Ophelia and restoring power to the worst affected communities in Ireland.
Teams from Northern Powergrid, Western Power Distribution, SP Energy Networks, Electricity North West, UK Power Networks, NIE Networks and Manx Utilities are joining the effort.
Storm Ophelia hit the southern coast of Ireland on Monday, with winds in excess of 80mph causing severe damage to electricity network infrastructure and leaving around 360,000 customers without power. ESB have worked quickly to restore power to over 300,000 customers affected, but repairs are expected to take longer in some areas.
Network teams are being deployed through an agreement called NEWSAC; a mutual aid arrangement developed by network companies to help share resources across the UK, Ireland and the Isle of Man, when severe weather causes widespread damage to network infrastructure. Companies which experience the worst impact from storms are able to request assistance through NEWSAC to help their restoration efforts and reconnect customers as quickly and safely as possible. Networks from other parts of the country are able to offer assistance when possible, whilst always ensuring sufficient resources are available in their own region.
David Smith, Chief Executive of Energy Networks Association (ENA) said: “Network companies work hard and invest in our infrastructure to ensure that it is resilient and designed to withstand severe weather over the winter months. But as Storm Ophelia has shown, exceptionally high winds can cause physical damage to the network due to falling trees and branches which can result in customers losing power.”
Smith added: “When storms do cause power cuts, network staff are the unsung heroes who work incredibly hard, often in difficult conditions, to repair damage and restore power to homes and businesses. NEWSAC demonstrates that processes are in place to respond effectively and that network companies work together to restore power for customers as quickly and safely as possible.”