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The power of Storm Ophelia

01/11/2017

As business returns to usual following Storms Ophelia and Brian, we'd like to share with you how our response teams reconnected power to over 40,000 customers in total as wind speeds of up to 90mph battered North Wales area.

Storm Ophelia was classed as a ‘major event’ with 90mph gusts around Llandudno and Caernarfon. Storm Brian closely followed bringing 78mph winds recorded in Aberdaron and the Llyn Peninsular.

Trees and other vegetation being blown onto overhead power lines by the high winds were behind a number of faults with some poles also being downed by the sheer force of the gales in places.

Flooding was also an issue in Aberystwyth, Borth and Llyn Peninsular where teams were deployed to lay sandbags around local substations to prevent water entry.

We had 500 staff, supported by 340 contract partners, working across both storms to restore supplies, with many working in tough outdoor conditions and late into the evenings to reconnect those without power.

As part of our regular storm preparation, we had specialists standing by to tackle downed overhead lines, additional teams ready to safely remove fallen trees and a number of generators on standby to support the power network where needed most.

Despite ongoing poor weather, our response teams reconnected the vast majority of those households affected inside 24 hours. During the worst weather brought by Storm Ophelia, around 200 homes remained off overnight in North Wales with hotel accommodation being offered and we sent out hot food trucks to the areas affected.

Stephen Stewart, Director at SP Energy Networks said: “Our teams have responded to a much higher than normal number of incidents across North and Mid Wales in October due to the severe storm force winds that hit the country in recent weeks.

“Our network is more resilient than ever and can cope with winds reaching 50, 60 and even 70mph in places. However, when gusts hit 80 or 90mph, or higher, loss of power is far more likely particularly with uprooted trees and other debris being blown into overhead lines.

“Our teams are experienced in working in bad weather, but strong gusts can make conditions extremely difficult for them, particularly when it comes to working at height. We will always make repairs as soon as possible, but for safety reasons we can’t always have staff working at height during exceptionally high winds until wind speeds calm down. 

“Storm Ophelia saw gusts of up to 90mph and it’s down to the experience and dedication of our staff that only 200 customers were without power for over 24 hours and we certainly appreciated our customers being patient and understanding as we worked to get everyone back on.

“With the worst of the wintery weather still ahead, we’d like to remind everyone we’re on hand 24/7 to fix any power outages, but the sooner we know about it the better. You can report any power outages to us by calling the emergency hotline 105 or 0800 092 9290.”

Storm Doris experienced back in February remains the worst storm of 2017 so far, with approximately 68,000 customers in North and Mid Wales affected by power outages.

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