South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has raised the ‘growing frustration’ of families in Dumfries and Galloway and the Scottish Borders who have been left without power and water in the wake of Storm Arwen, in the Scottish Parliament.
Speaking during a question session specifically about the storm on Tuesday, the local MSP questioned Deputy First Minister John Swinney about the timescales for when those still without power or water will be reconnected.
Speaking in the debating chamber, Colin Smyth said: “I send my condolences to those who have, sadly, lost a loved one during storm Arwen, and I extend my sympathies to everyone that has been affected by its impact. We are hugely grateful to all those on the front line of the response.
“However, there is a growing frustration on the part of the thousands of people across the country, including many in my South Scotland region in Dumfries and Galloway and the Borders, who still have no power and, in some cases, no water supply, and have no idea of when they will be reconnected, due to a lack of information or, in some cases, misinformation.
“The Deputy First Minister said that it is his expectation that most remaining customers with no power will have their power restored today, but some will not have it restored until later this week. How many does he anticipate will have to wait beyond today? When will the 1,500 properties that are still without a water supply be reconnected? Given the problems with telecommunications in some areas, is the Scottish Government confident that all vulnerable residents have been contacted directly to ensure their wellbeing? For many people, contacting their council is not an option.”
Speaking after the session, Colin Smyth added: “Storm Arwen caused huge damage across the country but the fact that some of my constituents are still without power, and sometimes water, is horrendous.
“I will continue to monitor the situation and would urge anyone struggling to get in touch. But it’s clear that lessons need to be learned from this event in terms of what information residents are given by power firms and whether our power infrastructure is up to scratch.”