Select Committee on Northern Ireland Affairs Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum submitted by SEEBOARD plc

  Although we were alert to the risk of escalating network damage arising from the Boxing Day storms, and indeed sustained damage to our networks causing loss of supplies to customers, we did not regard the circumstances as exceptional and we did not declare a SEEBOARD System Emergency.

  However, in reaction to the weather forecasts produced for us by the Metrological Office on Christmas Eve, we arranged for additional volunteer personnel to be available on standby (supplementing the standing arrangements for field operational personnel) from dawn on Boxing day. Having overcome the fault repair workload created by the poor weather of Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 December, we were sufficiently well resourced to be able to send 25 linesmen and technical supervisors to the Newcastle area on Monday 28 December at the request of our NOSAC partner, Northern Electricity plc.

  With regard to the specific information you have requested, we have already submitted similar information to OFFER, and I detail below an extract of this information. I believe that the information for the whole of the industry is being collated by OFFER and so you may find it advantageous to speak to OFFER to gain an industry perspective.

  I have extracted from our report to OFFER the information that you have requested and this is detailed below:

    Number of Connected Customers = 2,126,000
Number of customers off supply
DateNumber off supply
due to storm damage
Total number
off supply
26 December4,2984,770
27 December93316
28 December0406
29 December1217
30 December09,730
31 December3700

Speed of restoration
Length of time off supplyNumber of customers
0-3 hours15,017
3-6 hours808
6-12 hours232
12-18 hours78
18-24 hours3
24 hours +1

Compensation to customers
GS2 payments0
Ex-gratia payments151
1Only 1 for over 24 hours interruption (remainder 12-24 hrs interruption).

22 March 1999

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