Night without power for homes hit by Storm Otto

Tree on car

A car was damaged by a fallen tree in Aberfeldy

Thousands of people in northern Scotland spent Friday night without power in the aftermath of Storm Otto.

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) said its engineers reconnected more than 42,000 customers but at 10:00 on Saturday about 2,500 were still without supply.

Power was restored to more than 1,000 homes during the day and by 16:30 about 1,300 properties were off supply.

SSEN expects to have everyone reconnected by Sunday evening.

The power cuts are mainly concentrated in Aberdeenshire and include parts of Kennethmont, Lonmay, Rathen, Oyne, Methlick, Glenbuchat, Kininmonth, Pitcaple, Insch and surrounding areas.

Mobile food vans are in place serving hot food and drinks.

Storm Otto, the first named storm of the season, was marked by high winds which brought down trees and damaged a number of vehicles and buildings.

Wind speeds in excess of 80mph were recorded in a number of places while at Cairngorm mountain the gusts reached 120mph.

Trains, buses and ferry services were delayed or cancelled, with trees blocking many routes in Aberdeenshire.

Meanwhile, The Met Office has issued a yellow warning of ice across parts of northern Scotland for between midnight and 0800 on Sunday.

Chloe Alexander

Chloe Alexander lost power in her house in Hatton at about 08:00

Chloe Alexander, who lives in a farmhouse in Hatton with her husband and two young children, said they lost power at about 08:00 on Friday morning.

They were also badly affected by Storm Arwen in November 2021.

“We’ve got an 18-month-old and a four-year-old to consider so it’s mainly concerned for them, keeping them warm, making sure they’ve got food”, she told BBC Scotland.

“A year and a half ago in November we had no power for four, five days from Storm Arwen so I didn’t trust SSEN’s response, in the sense that they couldn’t provide any reassurance when the power would be back on.

“After last time they were giving reassurance every 24 hours and at that time my baby was five months old. Thankfully my in-laws are in Peterhead so we were able to go to my in-laws last night because I just didn’t trust when the power would go on.”

She added that the communication and response from SSEN had been “a lot better” than in November 2021.

‘Further progress’

The firm said it had brought in extra workers to deal with the power cuts and a total of 750 staff were responding to the effects of the storm.

Mark Rough, operations director, said SSEN had made “good progress” restoring power.

“Our teams will continue to work hard into the evening to carry out repairs and restore power to those who remain off supply, and we remain confident the majority of customers impacted will be restored today, with all customers expected to be restored by tomorrow evening at the latest.

“We continue to work closely with our resilience partners to support our customers as required, particularly those on our Priority Services Register, and would encourage anyone who may need additional support to contact our dedicated teams on the power cut helpline, 105.”

Greg Clarke, also with SSEN, said the organization had been working hard to “improve the resilience” of the network since last year’s storm season.

Mr Clarke said: “We’ve undertaken a significant number of improvements. Everything from making sure we’re providing more accurate restoration times to our customers so that the people who are going to be off supply for prolonged periods of time, we can allowed them to make informed decisions with regards to making alternative arrangements.”

Kenny McKenzie

Mintlaw resident Kenny McKenzie said he was hoping to relocate to Fraserburgh after losing power at home

Kenny McKenzie, told BBC Scotland that a tree was blown down outside his house in Mintlaw, Aberdeenshire and he lost power at 07:45 on Friday.

“With no word, no internet, no mobile phone, everything stopped working,” he said.

“One of our neighbors has a gas cooker so she came round with a flask so that we could have our coffee, which was great first thing in the morning.

“Hopefully we’re going down to Fraserburgh because the power’s on there so we’ll wait and see if there’s a bus, seemingly the buses have stopped as well though nobody seems to know.”

Any customer who has been off supply for longer than 12 hours is entitled to claim up to £30 for food, per day. Customers are advised to keep receipts.

More than 100 schools in Aberdeenshire were closed on Friday, with almost 50 in Highland and a handful in Moray also affected.

Angus Council said the Burnside Primary School building was not safe for children and staff, after the roof was seriously damaged.

Children from P1-7 will be provided with remote learning from February 22 when the school returns from the mid-term break.

North East Scotland College in Aberdeen also closed following damage to the roof of its city campus.

BBC Scotland Weather said gusts of 83mph had been recorded in Inverbervie, Aberdeenshire, and 80mph in Lossiemouth, Moray, and at Tain in the Highlands.

The storm was named Otto by the Danish Met Office. The UK Met Office has adopted the same name.

It is the first named storm to hit the UK since Franklin last February.

The Met Office’s season for named storms runs from September to September, and the names are given to raise awareness of severe weather.

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