ESB rejects criticism of localised outage for ‘essential maintenance’ during yellow weather warning

About 300 customers in the Ballykeeran area of Athlone had no power for period as supplier escalated public safety timber-cutting programme

ESB Networks has defended its decision to proceed with planned outages during a yellow weather warning, stating the “essential maintenance will bring greater reliability and resilience” to electricity supply in the area.

On Monday, about 300 customers in the Ballykeeran area of Athlone were without power due to works being carried out on the network.

Local residents complained about the timing of the planned outage, as Met Éireann issued a status yellow cold weather warning, with temperatures forecast to drop to as low as minus 5 degrees.

John Ronaghan, a local resident, said his issue was “the outage went ahead with a temperature -1 degrees”.


“My wish is that ESB Networks learns from this and gives communities equal consideration. As you can appreciate, planned outages are part of life. ESB knew of the weather warning and could have rescheduled. It choose not to,” he said.

“It rightly considers warnings when they might endanger its staff. We would have liked similar consideration.”

In a statement to The Irish Times, a spokesman for ESB Networks said the Athlone area was “acutely impacted” by unplanned outages due to high winds during Storm Debi on November 13th.

“As most of the damage to our network was caused by fallen branches and trees, ESB Networks escalated its public safety timber-cutting programme in the area,” the spokesman said.

“[Monday]’s planned outage impacts on approximately 300 customers in the Ballykeeran area of Athlone. For context, a peak of 17,000 customers were without supply in the wider Athlone area following Storm Debi, some for a number of days.

He added: “While we appreciate the obvious inconvenience caused to customers impacted by today’s planned outage, the essential maintenance will bring greater reliability and resilience to the electricity network in the area – and help to avert more prolonged unplanned outages in these winter months.”

  • Sign up for push alerts and have the best news, analysis and comment delivered directly to your phone
  • Find The Irish Times on WhatsApp and stay up to date
  • Our In The News podcast is now published daily – Find the latest episode here
Shauna Bowers

Shauna Bowers

Shauna Bowers is Health Correspondent of The Irish Times