INNERLEITHEN will no longer be left in the dark, according to utility bosses, after years of being hit by power cuts.

For years the town has been plagued with power failures - stretching from just a few seconds to entire days.

But energy bosses have promised that Innerleithen is at the top of the list as part of a £269m investment programme in Edinburgh and Borders to install a new primary line.

Although these works are not scheduled until after 2023, SP Energy Networks say they have transferred the extensive overhead line from Yair Bridge to a more resilient one at the Gytes, which should reduce further outages.

The energy company is regulated by OFGEN and provide the distribution and power network.

Regardless of supplier, homeowners pay SP Energy Networks 20p per day from their bills, which go to upgrading, repairs, and modernisation of the network.

Stakeholder and Community Engagement Manager Euan Norris, publicly apologised at a meeting of Innerleithen Community Council this week, for the substandard service residents are receiving.

He said: “We recognise the circuits around here have experienced multiple interruptions.

"Firstly I’m not going to sit here and defend that, I’m going to apologise for that because as organisation, that’s not the service we want to provide to our customers. It’s inconvenient and not where you want to be in the modern society.”

Sean Gavaghan, who is Head of Planning and Design for the energy company said the level of service Innerleithen residents are receiving is not sufficient.

She told the meeting: “On an interim basis we’ve fed Innerleithen from a different circuit, so effectively the overhead line circuit we’ve swapped it to a more resilient circuit a month ago which has considerably better quality of service. Hopefully you’ll see a bit of a difference.”

During a fault or an intermittent trip, overhead line teams are sent out to identify the problems and are now using drone technology.

Additional bird diverters have been installed on lines as well as air breakers to provide isolation of the fault, which won’t eliminate the problem, but helps officers identify the area and get power back on quicker.

A survey has been carried out on the line which has identified overgrown vegetation and tree branches that need to be felled.

Mr Norris stepped into the role of the Community Engagement Officer in November.

He said: “Customer service is at the very heart of what we are doing on a day to day basis. It’s not service I want to represent but we are doing everything in our power in the short term to mitigate and reduce the interruptions with a longer term plan to re-enforce and rebuild the line.”

However, community councillor Jackie Couchman said for a long time Innerleithen was “deafened by the silence” over plans to fix the power outages.

She said: “My concern is we had this good line of communication and then everything went quiet and there have been fundamental things that have happened in the interim. I think what we as a community need a sense of progression because we’ve had these really irritating, regular, albeit short interruptions.”

A few residents at the meeting also expressed their fears of elderly with the Careline systems going offline and not coming back on again.

Mr Norris highlighted the Priority Services Register for customers which enables SP Networks to identify people with extra needs.

The new primary line is approved there will be an underground system which is said to be far more resilient.

But it won’t as simple as flicking a switch, with challenges such as consents and agreements from landowners.

To find out more about eligibility and joining SP Energy Network’s Priority Services Register free of charge contact 0330 10 10 167.