Energy Secretary Michael Matheson has stated that the impact of Storm Arwen on the power network has been “unprecedented”.
He said the number of faults across the network was around three times higher than in the ‘Beast from the East’ storm in 2018.
Storm Arwen knocked out electricity supplies to thousands of homes over the weekend, with at least 17,000 homes enduring a fourth night without power on Monday.
Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks remained at red alert status for the north of Scotland on Tuesday morning.
Matheson appeared before Holyrood’s Net Zero Committee on Tuesday to discuss the government’s fuel poverty strategy.
Conservative MSP Liam Kerr asked him about the plans to replace gas and oil heating with electrically-powered heat pumps.
He said: “What contingency planning would be done such that if everyone were to move to electric-powered heating, that if we have the catastrophe that we’ve had over the last few days, they’re not left freezing in houses in rural areas?”
Matheson said in the wake of major events utility companies would be expected to minimise any future power losses.
He said: “I think we have to reflect on the fact that the level of faults and difficulties which have been experienced across the network is unprecedented.
“At one point we had over 500 faults in the system.”
The minister said district energy systems, where heating is provided to a number of properties in an area, would provide greater resilience.
Liberal Democrat communities spokesperson Beatrice Wishart said: “It is simply unacceptable that communities across Scotland are left for days without electricity.
“Alternative power supplies should be provided to communities who may have to wait for engineers to find and fix the problems in order to get the power back on.”
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