Update from the National Emergency Coordination Group on Severe Weather1pm – 20 October 2017
· ESB Networks has restored power to 343,000 homes, farms and businesses since Monday.
· Water has been restored to 106,700 customers, with 2,300 remaining without supply, down from a peak of 109,000.
· Our road networks are open again, subject to some specific local issues.
The Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government as the Lead Government Department for the response to severe weather is continuing to monitor the progress of the response and to liaise with other Government Departments who are engaged with service providers, including Irish Water and ESB Networks, in relation to their own sectors. These engagements will continue as a matter of routine. Local authorities are being advised to factor in rest for those staff who have cleared practically all roads and who are removing debris.
The Department has also been in contact this morning with Met Éireann, OPW, Irish Water and the ESB with regard to Storm Brian and continue to monitor the progress of the storm and its path across the country tonight.
Giving wind strengths and timing, we are of the view that it does not present exceptional public safety issues. However, it is likely to impact on ESB work and may increase the current number of customers without power upwards again. Crews will almost certainly be stood down from work as the storm passes.
Updates from various sectors regarding outstanding issues and the enormous progress that has been made are set out below:
ESB Networks Power Restoration
· 343,000 homes, farms and businesses have had their power supply restored since Monday.
· Electricity has been restored to 23% more homes, farms and businesses than were affected during Storm Darwin that hit Ireland in February 2014. Restoration has also been faster to date.
· However, 42,000 homes, farms and businesses remain without power this morning. The rate of progress numbers-wise from here will slow down as each individual fault restores a smaller number of customers. Also, with the weather forecast to deteriorate the conditions that the crews are working in makes the restoration effort more difficult and slower.
· A total of 3,800 staff are now working on the ground.
· ESB Networks has published “estimated restoration times” for all customers who are still without power on its PowerCheck app and on its website http://www.esb.ie/esb-networks/powercheck
· Every available resource continues to be used to restore all services.
· Irish Water, working closely with the ESB and the local authorities has made significant progress in getting drinking water back to those affected by Storm Ophelia. From a peak of 109,000 customers without drinking water, this has now been reduced to 2,300. Those affected customers are on small schemes including; nine schemes in Cork affecting 488 people; 12 schemes in Waterford affecting 533 people; 5 schemes in Wexford affecting 757 people; and one scheme in Kilkenny affecting 500 people. There are still 100 people on one scheme in Tipperary who are at risk of running out of water.
· Working with the local authorities, Irish Water have deployed 50 generators that are keeping water flowing for 51,000 customers.
· Wastewater plants were also affected by power outages with 148 going off-line. Conscious of the very serious potential impact on receiving waters, Irish Water worked with the ESB to prioritise sites for reconnection, moved generators to other sites and tankered waste away where possible. There are now nine wastewater schemes left without power and Irish Water are working to bring these back on line as soon as possible.
· As Storm Brian approaches, the Irish Water Crisis Management Team will continue to meet and resources such as generators, water tankers and bottled water for vulnerable customers will remain in place in those counties expected to be affected.
Continue to support ESB networks on aerial recce of power lines.
Continue to assist the ESB with fallen cables on the ground.
Further Defence Force assistance today includes the provision of water bowsers in Galway and Kilkenny and filling of sandbags for flood defences in Limerick.
The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has liaised directly with dairy processors though the Department’s local dairy inspectorate and with ESB Networks. Dairy processors have identified suppliers where problems exist and contingency measures are being put in place. As more information on power restoration is being made available, processors are better placed to direct resources where necessary. The Department will continue to liaise with dairy processors.
The Department’s Animal Welfare Helpline, which gives guidance on protecting animal welfare and safety, in addition to responding to urgent requirements for emergency feed provision, has been operational throughout the period of the storm and continues to be monitored.
Key Public Safety & Information Messages
ESB Networks continues to highlight the dangers posed by fallen live wires and is advising the public and the emergency services to stay away from these fallen cables and to report such cases to it immediately. ESB Emergency Services can be contacted at 1850 372 999.
Currently, there are 42,000 homes and businesses without power. Customers can check their estimated reconnection time regarding their individual situation using the PowerCheck app or by logging onto (https://www.esbnetworks.ie/). Cork, Tipperary and Kerry have been worst affected, and it is anticipated that it will be early next week before power is fully restored to a small number of customers in these areas.
Health services will return to normal over the next few days, however some continued disruption is likely. The public can expect some delays in their appointments with the HSE contacting clients whose appointments have been cancelled to reschedule them as soon as possible.
The public are asked to continue to check on vulnerable and isolated neighbours. If they need to make contact with services please assist them utilising the phone numbers that have been publicised.
Phone charging in areas without power has a been identified as an issue, and it is suggested that portable battery packs could be obtained, in particular for those more vulnerable or isolated people who may not be able to obtain them themselves. People are also advised to make use of their car for charging their phones.
While our road networks are open again, subject to some specific local issues, drivers are advised to remain vigilant on the roads over the next few days and throughout the weekend.