Around 205,000 homes suffered a power cut that lasted from a few minutes to several hours that sparked a major investigation by Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution (SHEPD) into the cause.
The company has said that a mysterious fault on their high-voltage line between Keith and Inverness was at the root of the cut, which affected homes as far north as Orkney and west to Fort William.
SHEPD say that the fault could have been caused by a lightning strike on the cable or falling debris from high winds, however they are unable to say exactly what the cause might have been and have so far not identified a specific point in the cable that caused the failure.
A former Scottish Power chairman, Sir Donald Miller, commented last week that the north transmission network was “more vulnerable” because of the way that wind power is managed. Sir Donald added that he believed a turbine-based energy strategy was flawed “because it only works when the wind blows”.
At the time of the incident last week Beauly resident John Graham said he was outside at the time of the cut and noted a marked drop in wind just before it happened. He said: “It seems to me there is a correlation between that and the lack of power.”
However, a spokeswoman for SHEPD refused to comment on if a sudden drop of input from wind turbines might have caused the incident. She said: “Early indications point to what is known as a transmission fault which although leaving no obvious damage to a power line will cause a brief interruption and is usually caused an object striking the line.
“Examples could include debris, lightning, birds or a failure within a specific piece of equipment. We will continue technical analysis and close-up inspections of equipment in the area over the coming days and weeks if necessary.”
There are currently 4338 wind turbines throughout the UK with over half of these in Scotland.