Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP, Angus MacNeil is backing a campaign by Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution (SHEPD) to make sure local residents know how to stay safe, warm and informed if winter storms cause further disruption to power supplies.

Last week, the first major storm of the winter hit the north of Scotland and the islands, with 5000 recorded lightning strikes, gale forces winds and waves the height of a six storey building.  Engineers worked throughout the course of the incident to restore power supplies to over 59,000 homes that were affected.

Over the past four years, SHEPD has invested £162m to ensure that its overhead lines, underground cables and substations are as prepared as possible to withstand the challenges of winter in the north of Scotland. Engineers have been carrying out refurbishment programmes across the network, installing the latest technologies and ensuring that any old or damaged equipment is replaced or repaired.

As part of the current campaign, residents are being asked to:

Be safe: Extra support is available to customers who may be vulnerable during a power cut – for example, if you rely on electricity for home medical care.  It’s easy to register and discuss your needs with SHEPD’s Priority Service team by calling 0800 294 3258.

Keep warm: Make sure you have what you need at home for light and warmth.  A home resilience kit might include a torch, spare batteries, light sticks, hand-warmers, high energy food or even self-heating food or drinks available from outdoor shops.

Stay informed: Think about how you would keep in touch without electricity.  For example, a basic ‘plug-in’ landline telephone will work without mains power; a battery-operated radio tuned to your local station is ideal for updates on when power supplies will be restored; or, SHEPD’s award-winning Power Track App which gives accurate, localised information on power cuts and restoration times, which is available free from the Apple and Google Play stores.

SHEPD has produced a series of videos which include helpful advice on how to prepare for bad weather and potential power cuts; what to do when power cuts do occur, and a behind-the-scenes look at their Emergency Service Centres.

Angus MacNeil MP said:

“We all hope that severe winter storms won’t affect our plans, especially as the festive season approaches.  While everyone is preparing for Christmas, it’s a good opportunity to make sure we’re also as ready as possible to stay safe and warm if the weather does its worst.

“I would encourage local people to make sure any family members who might be vulnerable in a power cut are registered to receive the extra support that is available.  A few simple steps today can make all the difference when bad weather strikes.  Especially when it’s cold and stormy outside, it’s good to know that family and friends will be ready to take good care of themselves and others.”

SHEPD’s Head of Operations Rodney Grubb adds:

“We’ve invested over £160m in recent years to upgrade and improve the service we offer our customers. We’ve also made it easier than ever before to access useful information during power cuts. If severe weather does cause damage to our network, we will do everything we can to get customers’ lights back on as quickly and as safely as possible.

“We also want to make sure that our customers are able to stay safe and warm while our frontline teams work to restore supplies. We can provide a range of extra help, particularly to customers who may be vulnerable, but we also want to help people make sure they are well prepared in advance.  Many of the things you can do to prepare for the possibility of power cuts will also be useful in the event of any other winter disruption to travel or services.”

Notes for editors

A range of videos produced to help SHEPD customers prepare for winter are available to view at  Information is also available in the form of a leaflet which can be downloaded from