Two-day power cut affects whole of Colonsay

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Islanders on Colonsay were left without power for two days because of a faulty underwater cable.

Scottish and Southern Energy’s head of customer operations Dale Cargill  has vowed to do everything possible to get the island’s power supply fully up and running again but until then Colonsay will rely on generators.

Bad weather cancelling CalMac ferries meant SSEN could not get generators across to the island when power went off on Wednesday morning last week and  a council’s civil contingency plan had to be put in place which included knocking on doors to keep people safe, especially older and sick residents.

An Argyll and Bute Council spokesperson said seeing as all telecommunications were down, contact with the island was kept through airwaves.

‘Colonsay activated its excellent community emergency planning arrangements to ensure the safety and wellbeing of islanders until power was restored. This was a very good example of a resilient community and partnership working,’ said the council spokesperson.

The Pantry at Scalasaig provided hot meals and drinks and The Colonsay Hotel also helped.

All 177 power customers on the island were without power until it was safe to get a helicopter carrying a team of SSEN engineers to the island that evening to investigate the problem.

The first available ferry finally arrived on the Thursday with engineers using mobile generators to reconnect the island until the faulty cable is fixed.

Mr Cargill said: ‘Throughout the course of the fault, SSEN worked very closely with the local resilience partnership to offer extra support to its customers, where possible. This includes providing free meals and drinks from local businesses and ensuring the welfare of SSEN’s vulnerable customers on the island.

‘SSEN’s priority now is to carry out investigations into the cause of the fault and to carry out any necessary repairs to its subsea cable to bring the network back to normal operation and has applied to Marine Scotland for an emergency licence to carry out the necessary work. The network will continue to be supported by mobile generation until such time the subsea cable is back in operation.’

Islands councillor Alastair Redman said: ‘There’s an argument here for a permanent back-up generator staying on the island and for a second subsea cable to be put in.

‘Thanks to all the unsung heroes who pulled together to look after everyone and to the frontline workers who helped bring power back.’