Glasgow & West Scotland

Scotland snow: Blackout continues in Arran and Kintyre for 1,650 homes

Downed electricity pylon
Image caption Hundreds of engineers are working to restore supplies across affected areas

More than 1,600 homes on the Isle of Arran and in Kintyre in Argyll are set to remain without power for a sixth night.

By Tuesday evening, 700 more customers had been reconnected by engineers battling to repair damage to pylons and power lines.

A storm on Friday caused pylons to topple under sheets of snow and ice.

Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) said it hoped to restore power to all customers by Thursday night.

With more homes due to be reconnected throughout Tuesday evening, the power company said it expected a total of 925 homes in Kintyre and 725 in Arran to remain without supplies overnight.

A spokesman added: "Conditions continue to be challenging, but we believe that, providing no further significant damage to the network is found, customers who lost their supply as a result of the recent severe weather event should have electricity restored by the end of Thursday night."

Snow and gales blasted the west coast on Friday, plunging about 20,000 properties into darkness.

Power companies attempting to restore supplies have been co-ordinating with local authorities and emergency services to clear snow-closed roads and transfer engineers into remote areas.

Transport Minister Keith Brown paid tribute to everyone who had worked "incredibly hard" to open transport links and maintain and repair essential infrastructure, as well as all the volunteers and "ordinary people" who were helping their neighbours.

He also announced that Finance Secretary John Swinney had activated the Bellwin Scheme to allow additional revenue support to local authorities hit by the snow storms.

The scheme helps councils in the wake of large-scale incidents.

SSE said it had drafted in more than 400 engineering staff to Kintyre and Arran and had six helicopters operating across the affected areas.

The utility firm said the damage to the electricity network infrastructure in Kintyre and Arran had been "among the worst seen for 30 years".

A total of eight pylons have been damaged - three of them badly - in the Crossaig area of Argyll alone.

The power company said the last time a storm brought down one of its pylons was in 1987.

'Really struggling'

Sandy MacPherson has lived in Campbeltown, Kintyre, all his life and told BBC radio's Good Morning Scotland programme these were the worst conditions he had experienced.

"My wife and I have had nothing for four days," he said. "We've had no heating, lighting or cooking facilities."

"Had it not been for good neighbours and friends we would be really struggling."

He added: "We were warned on Monday/Tuesday about the extreme weather that was coming in and, similar to the M8 escapade two years ago, nothing was put in place to be ready for it.

"We are now just catching up and chasing our tail."

Image caption Road clearing teams have been working to tackle huge drifts of snow on Arran

All schools in Arran will remain closed for the rest of the week.

North Ayrshire Council said pupils involved in exams would get support on their return from the Easter break.

Argyll and Bute Council said a few of its schools were closed due to having no electricity.

Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution (SHEPD) has organised eight mobile hot food outlets in Argyll and Arran, while 18 large generators and 50 smaller sets have been installed in the areas.

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon visited Campbeltown and the surrounding area on Tuesday to meet with affected residents.

She said: ""More and more people are now having power restored which is a tribute to the hard work of everyone involved - and the focus is on getting everyone back to normal as quickly as possible."

Mainland areas of Dumfries and Galloway were also badly affected by the severe weather on Friday and over the weekend.

On Monday evening ScottishPower said that all homes across the area had been reconnected to a main line electricity supply.

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