Safety first measures aim to keep the power flowing

Investment of £47m aims to keep the power flowing this winter

WHILE ONE OF the mildest ever Christmas holidays is being predicted one politician is keen to remind people of the sting that is often in the tail of a Scottish winter.

Highlands and Islands MSP Rhoda Grant, whose constituency duties includes Moray, is highlighting a campaign that seeks to help customers throughout the north of Scotland remain safe and informed if and when the weather turns back to a real Scottish winter.

Rhoda is getting behind the Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution’s (SHEPD) efforts to monitor weather days in advance – and make sure that engineers and customer support staff are ready to respond to any disruption caused by storms.

The network operator has invested £47.3million to strengthen its network and ability to respond – including the basics such as keeping people informed on power cuts, and reminding them that quite often their home phone will also be useless if the power goes off, and to keep SHEPD’s emergency 0800 300 999 number close at hand.

For technology enthusiasts, SHEPD’s industry-leading smart phone app, PowerTrack, can be downloaded free from the Apple, Google Play and Windows stores. Whether relying on old or new technology, calling 0800 300 999 is the way to report a power cut or any damage to the electricity network – and can also be used to obtain updates.

Rhoda Grant said: “Many people don’t realise that a lot of modern telephones won’t work without mains electricity. A very basic, corded phone that might be gathering dust in a cupboard, or can be bought for less than £5, can come to the rescue.

“If the lights go out, it makes a big difference to be able to contact SHEPD, other public services or family while keeping safe and warm at home.

“Where a mobile signal is available, SHEPD’s industry-leading smart phone app allows you to get the latest local information and updates with minimum hassle. You can also follow the latest news on twitter, Facebook and at – or even ask friends or family who aren’t affected to check on your behalf.

“No-one wants to be affected by a power cut during winter storms, but taking small steps to prepare can make a big difference. It’s good to know you and your family can keep safe, warm and in touch while engineers are battling the elements to get the lights back on.”

Director of SHEPD Dale Cargill added: “Ahead of this winter we have invested £47.3m to make sure our network is ready for the stormy winter weather we are experiencing across the north of Scotland.

“In recent weeks, we have already seen a succession of Atlantic depressions with wind speeds well above 80mph, significant lightning activity, torrential rainfall and snow. We will be ready to respond if further bad weather affects local communities in the months ahead. We want to help our customers get ready too – so they can keep safe, warm and informed while our engineers work to restore supplies as quickly as they can.

“Working with our emergency response partners across the north of Scotland, we can offer extra help to those who may need it in a power cut due to illness, disability or having medical equipment at home.

“Customers can register for our priority services by calling 0800 294 3259. We also seek to provide extra support to communities if extended disruption occurs, including hot food and drinks.

“In a wide range of circumstances, we want to make sure customers are able to keep in touch and get the information they need.”