UPDATE: 'Planned' Laois power cut hits water supply to schools, homes and businesses

Michelle Hogan

Reporter:

Michelle Hogan

Power and water outages force children home from Portlaoise school

A 'planned' power outage in Portlaoise has hit the water supply in the town and is forcing Portlaoise students home from school early today as well as hitting homes and businesses.

Portlaoise College on the Mountrath Road in Portlaoise sent a text to parents this morning advising that pupils should be collected at 1.15pm because of a water shortage.

There are local reports of water outages and low water pressure in other areas of Portlaoise including Market Square and Lower Main Street.

A spokesperson for Irish Water told the Leinster Express that up to 500 people are affected by the outage in Portlaoise as there were 'technical difficulties' during valve replacement work overnight. 

"In addition to the power outage by the ESB in Portlaoise, which may have some impact on water supply in the town there were also valve replacement works taking place overnight in the town last night as part of Irish Water’s Leakage Reduction Programme which was due to be completed this morning.

"Unfortunately some technical difficulties were encountered which resulted in a pipe needing to be replaced. This delayed the works which are now due for completion at 2pm today.

"It may take a number of hours before full water supply is restored once the works are completed. Irish Water apologises for any inconvenience caused by this unplanned outage," the spokesperson said. 

Noel Daly is the Principal of Portlaoise College. He said the school was given no warning of a power or water cut and they will test the water levels on Tuesday evening to determine whether they can open on Wednesday or not. 

"We sent all students home at lunch-time, you couldn't stay open with no water and toilets not going and the canteen. We got no communication until we rang Irish Water this morning and they said to check the website. All we know now is what is on their website. 

"If we had have known yesterday we could have prepared for it. If it's not back by tomorrow we won't be able to open fingers crossed that won't happen. It is an unnecessary disruption with 700 or 800 people in a building you can't operate without water," he said. 

ESB Networks has stated that the planned power outage in Portlaoise is set to be restored by 4pm.

People are advised to allow 2-3 hours after the estimated restoration time for your supply to fully return.

Separately valve replacement works may cause supply disruptions to Market Square and surrounding areas in Portlaoise according to Irish Water from 10pm on 17 December until 11am on 18 December.