Eunice batters UK’s power and broadband lines, but renewable energy soars
Teams of engineers are continuing to work to fix damage to the UK’s power network as tens of thousands of homes and businesses across the country experienced power outages following Storm Eunice.
Eunice hit UK shores on Friday bringing gusts of over 100mph. The damage it has left in its wake meant that around 56,000 homes and businesses were still facing a third night without power on Sunday.
Energy firms have stressed that most homes impacted by power cuts have already had their service restored, however hundreds of faults to power lines caused by fallen trees are proving complex to repair.
The Energy Networks Association (ENA) added that efforts to reconnect all customers were ongoing, although the continuing high winds, and now the newly-named storm Franklin has made conditions “challenging”.
The Southwest and the Southeast of England have been among the areas most affected – with UK Power Networks (which manages electricity distribution across of most Southeast England) reporting that it saw a month’s worth of faults in a day as gusts of up to 90mph hit parts of the south coast.
The storm has also caused damage to telecoms (broadband and mobile) infrastructure, resulting in outages. BT’s infrastructure and maintenance division, Openreach has reported substantial damage to around 100 of its poles and its overhead wires, with several of its green roadside cabinets also currently without power.
As of Sunday evening, BT Openreach said around 23,000 homes were without broadband but said 20,000 of those would be reconnected as soon as power was restored.
In a statement released this weekend, Openreach spoke of the challenges it faced, with another storm on the way.
“It’s an incredibly busy weekend and our teams are doing their best to get as many of our customers re-connected as quickly as possible. But it’s not easy. We have a huge volume of work, and some services will take longer to fix than others, especially if they require road closures, specialist equipment or safety measures.
“We are also experiencing further stormy weather with a third storm of the week – Storm Franklin – on the horizon.”
Both Ofcom and Ofgem offer compensation to customers affected by outages.
Customers left without power for more than 48 hours receive an automatic £70 compensation under Ofgem rules, with a further £70 for each additional period of 12 hours without supply, up to a cap of £700.
UK Power tweeted this morning that it was offering its customers an extra £50 payment for those who went without power for 24 hours, adding that they would contact everyone who is entitled to payment by text message or email in the coming days.
Several UK ISPs including BT, EE Hyperpotic, Sky Broadband. TalkTalk, Utility Warehouse Virgin Media, Vodafone, and Zen Internet are also members of Ofcom’s Automatic Compensation Scheme, designed to compensate consumers for delayed repairs following a loss of broadband.
One further silver lining to the UK’s stormy weather is the amount of renewable energy it is currently helping to produce.
Although there were reports of some wind turbines being shut down to prevent blade damage, renewable energy – including wind power – accounted for almost 50% of the UK’s electricity today (21 February) dwarfing fossil fuels (22%) and Nuclear (12%).
Renewable energy, which includes solar, wind and hydroelectric, usually generates a yearly average of electricity of 19.3%.
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