Kirkintilloch couple’s storm ordeal

A couple who were hit by a power cut in last month’s storms have warned others to be prepared for the lights going out.
Eoin and Norma McGowanEoin and Norma McGowan
Eoin and Norma McGowan

Eoin and Norma McGowan were at home in Kirkintilloch, on December 5, when high winds sent an electricity pole crashing to the ground ‑ taking part of their roof with it.

The ordeal unfolded around 7.30am.

The couple were left without electricity, but Eoin’s quick thinking and Norma’s preparedness meant that they could handle the situation.

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Eion said: “I was in the bathroom at the time and heard a big crash.

“I immediately thought it was the rubbish bins banging into the wall, however, when I rushed outside to survey the damage I was taken aback to find that half of my roof had collapsed to the ground.

“I’m an ex-police officer, so I called my old colleague in the force to help me contact SP Energy Networks, as I had little battery left on my phone.

“They came out, completed their work, and we were back on power by 6.30pm.”

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He added: “We have lived in our home for over 32 years and experienced a few power cuts in our time, however, nothing quite as serious as this one.

“My wife is the one who is well prepared with a torch, candles and blankets – she knows where it is all kept safe.”

But not everyone is so well organised. A recent survey revealed 51 per cent of East Dunbartonshire households are unprepared for a power cut, and that only 40 per cent of people would know to contact the company - while 27 per cent would try to contact their electricity suppliers. Around 18 per cent said they would do nothing.

SP Energy Networks, who should be the first port of call for anybody suffering power loss, recently launched a winter campaign to increase awareness and offer tips such as making sure you have a torch, battery powered radio and an analogue phone.

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Frank Mitchell, CEO of SP Energy Networks, said: “Although our electricity network operates at a very high standard, power cuts can occur at any time for a variety of reasons.

“Given the storms we saw in December, we would like to help more of East Dunbartonshire’s residents to have the information they need to be prepared. We operate a 24-hour emergency response service and customers should call 0845 272 7999 if they experience a loss of power. This will help us to fix the problem quicker, and our expert staff can give advice and guidance.”