Repair crews drafted in from North and UK

Additional manpower has been drafted in from overseas to assist in the mammoth task of restoring power to the thousands of households and businesses still without electricity in the wake of Storm Darwin.

This morning, crews from the UK will join ESB network crews who have been working around-the-clock, with power so far restored to more than 260,000 homes and businesses.

The ESB said last night that up to 13,000 customers in the south and south-east remain without a supply.

However, the number of Eircom customers without a service remains at 25,000, almost double the number of ESB customers without power. A spokesman for Eircom said that while they had restored service to approximately 4,000 homes yesterday, another 4,000 had reported faults.

ESB crews have been flat out, replacing around 1,700 poles, 400km of conductor and 400 transformers over a four-day period, from last Thursday to Sunday. The extra UK manpower is in addition to support from Northern Ireland Electricity and contractors.

A spokesperson for the ESB said while its highest priority was to clear all safety hazards, primarily caused by trees falling on the network, it was appealing to the public not to go near fallen lines “and in particular to warn children of this danger as they may be outside playing during mid- term break”.

The ESB spokesman said networks technicians had observed a number “of extremely dangerous and worrying incidents” where people put themselves in danger by rolling up broken conductor line and either placing it at the bottom of a pole or putting it in a nearby ditch.

“Some of our lines are coated in PVC but are not insulated,” the spokesman said.

He said they also wished to remind customers who are using generators to observe the safety precautions and ensure they do not connect a generator to a socket or distribution board.

“Doing so will create a feed onto the electricity network and will pose a danger to others including repair crews,” the spokesman said.

Restoration work is set to continue well into the week as the number of customers with power restored-per fault repaired reduces considerably. ESB Networks has over 5,000 faults still to address, over 95% of these are isolated faults impacting on less than three customers per fault.

The areas with the most customers remaining without power include Tralee, Dunmanway, Killarney, Fermoy, Newcastlewest, Tipperary and Enniscorthy and surrounding areas.

In the event of a power cut, the ESB is asking customers to take a number of precautionary measures including making sure never to approach broken lines or damaged poles, and to keep children and animals away; to turn off electric cookers, ovens, irons, etc if electricity supply is lost; to leave a light switched on so you know when power has been restored and ensure adequate ventilation if using gas heaters.

Anyone involved in the clean up is advised to be careful of overhead lines and fallen wires.

Following Storm Darwin, one of the worst storms on record to hit Ireland, over 8,000 faults have been recorded across the electricity network.

-Customers without power can check for updates on when their fault is expected to be repaired at: www.esbpowercheck.ie, via Twitter at @ESBNetworks or telephone 1850 372 999 and have their MPRN available to access recorded information specific to their location.

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