—> 2012 —> £2 Million Power Grid Improvements for Islay?

Diciadain, 15/Feb/2012

£2 Million Power Grid Improvements for Islay?

Islay News in stencil

Earlier this afternoon Islay (presumably also Jura and I believe also Colonsay) suffered yet another power cut. Admittedly nowhere nearly as bad as the cuts in January where many people had to endure several days without power, but then again there hasn't been a storm today and it still took a few hours. Anyway, today was the first time I noticed the @hydroPD account on Twitter acknowledging the fault:

We are aware of the loss of power on #Islay engineers are on site carrying out investigations. Further updates to follow.

Even more interesting was what happened soon after: After some complaints from local residents (@ IslayStudios and @ LizzyHath) about the state of the power network on Islay I noticed two interesting replies from the account (1, 2):

Hi, we plan to invest over £2 million during the coming year on refurbishment and reinforcement works on the island network.

We believe this will greatly improve the reliability of the electricity supply for our customers on Islay.

Thinking about this a few hours later I wonder what this means though:

Is this for the actual grid on Islay or is this related to the power supply coming to Islay (via Jura)? Looking through some recent issues of the Ileach I found a long letter from the Scottish and Southern Energy/Scottish and Southern Energy Power Distribution (which have no useful Islay information on either website?) Chief Executive about the network and the problems Islay faces with the power supply. Unfortunately I don't think it's available online. The letter mentions various measures they are taking:

To start with he says there will be a thorough refurbishment of the lines feeding the Rhinns area over the next two months. I'm not sure how this will benefit the Port Ellen area though, which was also impacted today (and regularly see power cuts as well). He also mentions the new undersea cable having been installed in spring 2011, however, I can remember several power cuts from my visit in June, by when I assume the cable was in place. Moving on from that he mentions plans to put in a second undersea cable, which apparently costs millions. Should the £2m include that there can't be much left for the actual grid.

Whatever the £2m will be for, I suspect this topic will continue to create discussion and receive a lot of attention over the next few years until the situation really improves. I know these power cuts significantly impact businesses as well as individuals. Just one example, I know of restaurants having to throw away several hundreds or even over a thousand pounds worth of food because of power cuts during an evening. Things like that must have a significant impact considering the tight margins they operate under. I don't know if they receive compensation, but I doubt it.

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