ESB crews pull out all stops to restore island electricity

December 6th, 2022 8:00 PM

By Jackie Keogh

ESB Network’s Michael O’Connor and Padraig McCarthy arriving back in Baltimore after an overnight job to fix a transformer that was struck by lightning on Cape Clear.

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A THUNDER and lightning storm left two West Cork islands temporarily without power last week.

Construction supervisor with ESB Networks Dunmanway, John Bohane, said the district is unique in having to look after seven islands off the coast.

‘The logistics of getting crew and equipment out to an island can be challenging especially in stormy weather,’ he said. Last Thursday’s lightning storm was a good example of that after two network technicians – Michael O’Connor and Padraig McCarthy – had to spend Friday night on Cape Clear.

ESB Network crews were busy on Thursday evening restoring power on the mainland but the problem extended to both Sherkin Island and Cape Clear.

John explained that the power feed for the islands goes from Turk Head, on the mainland, to Sherkin and from Silver Strand it goes via a submarine cable to Cape Clear.

ESB Network operative Shane Keohane travelled to Sherkin on Friday where he disconnected the supply to Cape. And when the fault was cleared, another operative at Turk Head Dave O’Shea was able to restore power to Sherkin. But there was still the problem on Cape Clear to resolve.

‘The only ferry on Friday was at 4.30pm so Michael O’Connor and Padraig McCarthy made the journey and were able to isolate the transformer that had been damaged,’ he said. Dark and unsafe conditions meant they were given a bed and had to wait until first light to replace the transformer and restore power to the island, returning to Baltimore by mid-afternoon.

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