SSEN Distribution announces additional £3.5m of support for communities impacted by Storm Arwen

SSEN Distribution has announced an additional £3.5 million in funding for network and community resilience as it welcomes publications by Ofgem and the Energy Emergencies Executive Committee (E3C) into the response to Storm Arwen.

By Dawn Renton
Wednesday, 15th June 2022, 6:41 am
Updated Wednesday, 15th June 2022, 6:41 am
SSEN is voluntarily committing an additional £3.5m of funding to support customers and communities in the affected areas.
SSEN is voluntarily committing an additional £3.5m of funding to support customers and communities in the affected areas.

Storm Arwen was the most significant weather event to hit Scotland in a generation with an estimated 16 million trees impacted and more than 1,000 points of damage recorded on SSEN’s overhead line network.

A 950-strong team worked in very difficult conditions to restore power as quickly as possible to over 100,000 homes and provide support and welfare to customers.

Since the storm, SSEN has played a collaborative role in all reviews into its response, alongside conducting its own extensive customer and stakeholder research.

As a result of this engagement, key improvements have already been made to core customer and public communications processes and enhanced data flows with local resilience partnerships.

SSEN will now seek to implement any further lessons learned for the coming winter and beyond.

SSEN welcomes the recommendations for network operators, resilience partners and policy makers including the heightened focus on future resilience, and agrees that with increasing reliance on electricity through the decarbonisation of heat and transport, extended power outages are much less tolerable for customers.

More immediately, SSEN recognises the significant impact of the storm on customers and communities in the north east of Scotland.

In addition to the £4.8 million in enhanced compensation it has already provided above statutory levels, the network operator has agreed voluntarily to establish a further £3.5 million of funding to support network and community resilience.

This comprises:

£1.8m of ring-fenced funding for local authorities in most affected regions to support community and personal resilience projects, focused on the vulnerable, adding to the £0.5m boost to SSEN’s Resilient Communities Fund which will award this summer. £1.2m allocated for additional network resilience investment, focused on enhanced protection of key circuits and contingency measures to help improve response time in future major storm events.

Further details of this investment, which is over and above the £100m allocated to network upgrades and maintenance in the north of Scotland this year, will be issued in the coming weeks.

SSEN Director of Operations, Mark Rough, said: “We have already taken steps to improve our response through listening to our customers and will continue to implement any and all learnings for future events.

"The additional £3.5m in funding will support this aim, helping improve our operational response and support community members, particularly those most vulnerable, improve their own resilience."