NIE battled blizzards in weekend power repairs

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Over 20,000 power cuts affected homes and businesses during the recent severe weather according to official figures issued by Northern Ireland Electricity.

In the Coleraine area some 300 customers were affected.

Randal Gilbert, Duty Incident Manager at Northern Ireland Electricity, said, “We had emergency crews working continuously from Friday lunchtime until Saturday evening to repair all faults on the electricity network.

“As we repaired faults and restored electricity to some customers, others lost power as a result of the continuing weather conditions. At the peak, we had around 4,000 customers without electricity at the same time.

“The snow falls made it very difficult to access the electricity network and to make repairs. Many of the faults were on higher ground or in areas which could not be reached by road due to drifting snow. A helicopter had to fly emergency teams into the Mourne Mountains on Saturday morning to inspect and restore damaged electricity lines.

“As usual, we worked closely with the Met Office to prepare for this event which saw heavy snow fall mostly in the East of Northern Ireland and gusts of over 45 miles per hour.

“We opened our incident centre early on Friday morning and were able to respond immediately when the storm hit. Customers across Northern Ireland were affected, however the South and East suffered the most damage with the most power cuts in our Newry, and Downpatrick districts.”

An analysis of the statistics maps the damage caused by the severe weather. NIE emergency crews from Western and Northern areas were moved into the worst affected areas to provide additional support to local teams. This ensured restoration efforts could continue throughout the night in these areas.