St Jude’s Storm: Over 600,000 properties face power cuts

//St Jude’s Storm: Over 600,000 properties face power cuts

St Jude’s Storm: Over 600,000 properties face power cuts

Engineers reconnected 459,000 homes and businesses throughout the day, but 166,000 remained without electricity

More than 600,000 homes and businesses were left without power on Monday after the storm brought down electricity lines across southern England.

Three-quarters of those affected had been reconnected by the early evening, but engineers had to work through the night as they attempted to restore power to the remaining people hit by the blackouts.

By 6.30pm last night some 459,000 properties were back on the grid but there were still 166,000 without electricity.

A nuclear power station in Kent shut itself down automatically after its electricity supply cables were cut off by flying debris.

Engineers were sent down from the north of Britain to help restore power in the south, where the hurricane-force storm struck.

The Energy Networks Association, which represents electricity and gas network operators in the UK and Ireland, said that the worst affected areas were in the south-east and East Anglia, although the West Country also suffered blackouts.

Tim Field, a spokesman for the industry body, said: “The south-west took a bit of a hit in the early hours, but it doesn’t seem to have caused that many people to have lost their supplies.

“There is a population density point. If you lose a power line in the south-east it affects more people.”

The storm had moved onto the Continent by lunchtime, enabling engineers to get out on the ground and carry out more repairs.

Mr Field said a combination of low voltage and high voltage lines were affected by the high winds, and admitted that it was impossible to say when everybody would have their electricity restored.

“It’s still quite early days in terms of establishing the full scale of the damage and how long it will take to repair,” he said.

The three companies affected by the blackouts were Western Power Distribution, Scottish and Southern Energy Power Distribution, and UK Power Networks.

UK Power Networks, which supplies electricity to eastern and south-eastern counties, said it had 750 engineers on duty, five times as many as usual.

It received about 100,000 calls from customers on Monday and carried out helicopter patrols to check the condition of overhead power lines.

A spokesman for the firm said: “The electricity network is built to be resilient but extreme weather can see wind-borne debris being blown onto our overhead power lines.

“We activated the early stages of our emergency plans on Friday and brought in additional staff covering engineering, technical and call centre roles.”

However, there was frustration among those whose power had still not been restored by Monday night.

Chris Jones wrote on Twitter: “Power cut since seven this morning… Now forgive me for thinking the National Grid would have more then one feed to the coast.”

Both reactors at the Dungeness B nuclear power station, operated by the energy giant EDF, were shut down when its power supply was interrupted.

The station in Kent, which generates enough electricity to power 1.5 million homes, was taken offline as a safety measure. The site’s own diesel generators were used to provide power for essential safety systems.

A National Grid spokesman said that having the nuclear power station offline was unlikely to cause wider problems because demand for electricity is currently relatively low and there is spare generating capacity.

Source: Telegraph


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