Agri contractors aiding ESB workers to restore power

Agricultural contractors have answered the call of ESB Networks to aid its workers to restore power to homes, farms and businesses across the country.

ESB workers have been battling the effects of the heavy snowfall, with a significant amount of faults occurring.

As of last night, 22,000 homes, farms and businesses were left without power overnight.

Commenting on the matter, the company said: “Since the onset of Storm Emma, ESB Networks teams have restored supply to approximately 125,000 of our customers.

“On-going access issues mean it will be [today] at the earliest before some customers will get electricity back. Cork, Enniscorthy, Arklow, the greater Dublin area and eastern counties of Leinster are the main areas affected.

Due to ice and snow on roads and land, access is the greatest impediment to restoring supply.

This morning, ESB Networks – while also working with local authorities – reached out to the Association of Farm and Forestry Contractors in Ireland (FCI) in search of assistance in their quest to rectify the remaining outages in certain areas.

Agricultural contractors with wheeled loaders, teleporters and snow ploughs for road clearance were sought. Operators in the south-east, midlands, Kildare and Sallins regions were initially called for.

With a membership of close to 800, FCI members queued up to offer their respective services.

Since then, ESB Networks has also asked agricultural contractors in counties Wexford and Wickow to get in touch if available. Further calls are expected as operations progress.

Prior to the blizzard-like conditions experienced in recent days, the FCI was to the fore in offering its members’ support to the National Emergency Co-ordination Group for Severe Weather in dealing with issues arising from the snow and ice.

In a letter to the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, the FCI outlined that agricultural contractors are “particularly well-equipped to provide sanding, gritting and snow plough services in every county in Ireland”.