Thursday, May 30, 2024

Engineers work to restore power after Storm Eunice hit the South East

ENGINEERS are working hard to restore power supplies across the South East and East of England after Storm Eunice swept through on Friday.

The rare ‘weather bomb’ delivered the worst sustained high winds the regions have seen for years, with gusts of up to 80mph causing significant damage to parts of the local electricity network.

UK Power Networks’ 46,000km of overhead lines were damaged in more than 1,800 locations, as the weather caused a month’s worth of faults in a day.

The engineering teams are currently part of the national clear-up operation and managed to restore power to more than 90% of those affected yesterday. Extra teams are out working to get the power flowing again.

Head of customer services Ian Cameron said: “Our teams managed to restore power to the majority of affected properties yesterday. There are currently 28,900 properties without power across the East of England and 48,100 off supply across the South East. We are working very hard to get the power flowing for our customers, and will get power back on for the vast majority by the end of tomorrow (Sunday) if not sooner.”

The teams work to prioritise the jobs affecting the largest number of customers first, before reaching smaller customer groups, then single properties affected. The length of the power cut also depends on the level of damage they find on site; it may be a simple case of removing a branch, or complex work to patrol the line, find the fault, deliver new wooden poles and cables and install them. This huge team effort will continue until every last supply is restored.

The company’s call centre handled a record number of calls on Friday (23,000), the equivalent of nearly 18 days of calls, and on average people got through in less than a minute. More than a day’s worth of calls were being handled every hour and information on its website was viewed two million times in 24 hours.

Customer advisors are contacting vulnerable customers affected, and offering extra help to suit their needs. Working with partners, the company is also sending food vans to rural locations to deliver up to 10,000 hot meals a day, and in some cases can offer hotel stays and pay for takeaways.

People are reminded to please treat electricity cables hanging low or down, as live. Stay away from lines that are down and report them immediately on 105 (free to call from a landline or a mobile phone). If electricity lines are causing significant risk to the public please call 999.

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