We are being told by an angry resident of Campbeltown that SSE are repeatedly giving inaccurate information to the media on the status of the supply to the town.
This resident turned on the radio at midday today – 27th March – and heard a report that Campbeltown had been reconnected.
This is said to be flatly untrue. Our informant is not connected and nor are several others the individual happens to know.
The household concerned evidently received one phone call several days ago promising early reconnection and a further phone call. Neither have yet come.
The person passing on this information understands that the company will be feeling under pressure but is angry at the disinformation being peddled – particularly since this household has seen no sign of any great activity in getting the town fully reconnected.
Certainly BBC Scotland is reporting that: ‘Power was restored to Campbeltown [Ed: our emphasis – there is NO equivocation here], but 800 customers in outlying areas were still cut off as well as 20 homes in Tarbert.
The suggestion of spin going on here marries with evidence of spin in other public statements from SSE.
Earlier today, its website information service declared that:
‘…engineers have effectively established the equivalent of two new power stations to connect homes while they repair our distribution and transmission networks’.
To the uninitiated or the fast-scanner, this reads as a massive set of full reconnections achieved while work continues on outstanding damage to the network.
What this actually refers to is the volume of power from mobile generators shipped in to get some power into the main population clusters. This has been a massive effort and it has brought relief to many – limited and temporary relief, but relief nevertheless.
‘Two power stations’ worth however, does seem to be over-egging it, although some power stations are small, old and their output is modest.
The failure to be open that they’re talking about mobile generators here is deceiving – and has to be knowingly so. Otherwise why would you not say: ‘We’ve brought in and installed enough mobile generators to make available XXX wattage of temporary power.’?
The bottom line is that no one would or could deny how hard the engineers at the sharp end have been working in atrocious conditions to do what they can as best they can.
But the company has not been forthcoming with the honest estimates of timescales to the full restoration of power.
What they have done in this respect is actually more spinning. They finally said last night – and repeated today – that they hoped to have everyone reconnected ‘by the end of Thursday night’.
Think about it.
‘The end of Thursday night’ is actually Friday morning – and could run well into Friday. But saying ‘Thursday night’ instead of ‘Friday morning’ subtly shaves a day off the reality.
Not good enough.
And if SSE are exaggerating their achievements in reconnections, they are undermining public trust in the security of their information. That is a very dangerous place for a company to put itself in.