Poor weather conditions mean the switching on of a temporary mast at Bilsdale will be delayed
Arqiva, which runs the site, said high winds, low cloud and heavy rain in recent days had forced a delay to the proposed switch on date next week.
The company said the final installation work, checks and tests require good visibility and line of sight from the ground, while rain and winds above 20mph make it dangerous for workers to climb to heights and to lift equipment into place.
Power lines and feeder cables to the antenna must be installed, and equipment has to be kept dry as it is fitted together to ensure safety.
The company said it now intended to carry out the required checks and tests, and switch on the temporary mast in the period of October 13 to the 19, again dependent on the weather.
The mast was due to be switched on on Tuesday.
Engineers say the temporary mast will restore services to more than 90 per cent of households across the region which has been affected by the fire at the main Bilsdale Mast on August 10.
Work to dismantle the old, fire-damaged mast will begin soon.
Adrian Twyning, Arqiva’s chief of operations, visited the site on Friday afternoon to meet the team, see progress and view conditions.
He said: “The team have been working tirelessly since we broke ground to meet the go-live date of October 5.
“Unfortunately the one thing we cannot control is the weather and that has turned this week.
“I want to apologise to those people who were really hoping for their services to be restored after a long wait this week. We had worked hard for that too, and this is immensely frustrating.
“The wind, cloud and rain has a heavy impact on how we can work at height, and safety is our absolute priority.
“We will continue to work flat out to restore services to the people who deserve them, and we will provide a further update as soon as we can.”
Arqiva this week set out plans – working with local authorities, housing associations and charities – to support and help those who will still not receive a service as a result of the switch on of the temporary mast.
Called Project Restore, the priority focus will be on over 65s, and clinically vulnerable and vulnerable people affected. A new website will carry information and updates for those affected and their families and friends to find out more.