Belfast Telegraph

Power cuts to 2,500 homes from damage caused by 70mph winds

By Joanne Sweeney

Emergency power crews have been battling all day to restore electricity supplies to homes and businesses as fierce gales of up to 70 mph swept over Northern Ireland.

More than 2,500 homes and businesses are still without power, according to Northern Ireland Electricity's teatime update.

NIE staff earlier restored supplies to over 4,500 customers - despite working in atrocious weather conditions.

The worst affected areas are counties Down, Antrim and Armagh which are taking the brunt of the high winds.

Traffic Watch NI  has reported  two closed roads due to fallen trees - the A23 Moneyreagh/Belfast Road closed in both directions at Moneyreagh and the A3 Portadown Road between Richhill and Armagh.

NIE has warned that there may be other unreported faults in outlying rural areas as its emergency crews and engineers carry out repairs  in "atrocious conditions" from early morning .

It said that other customers may be affected if the adverse weather continues.

This  includes broken electricity lines and damage to poles and other power equipment caused by flying debris and high winds.

"If you are without power, we need to know, " said Julia Carson, NIE's communications manager who advised people to stay well away from any broken poles or downed lines and to report any damaged equipment to them immediately.

She added: "We put safety at the heart of our restoration work and we want everyone to take care in these conditions. 

"Report any visible damage to the electricity network to NIE immediately and under no circumstances should you approach any downed powerlines or broken poles."

There may also be further faults which have not yet been reported to Northern Ireland Electricity and adverse weather conditions, which could cause additional faults, are due to continue for the next few hours.

Customers can contact the NIE Customer Helpline on 03457 643 643 or report the fault online at nie.co.uk or follow NIE on Twitter @NIElectricity for regular updates.

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