THE UK’s biggest electricity distributor has issued urgent safety advice to Essex homeowners, after cases of interference with the electricity network tripled over the past year.
UK Power Networks has seen the number of instances soar at owner occupier properties, often where demolition or refurbishment work has left a property in a dangerous state, with cables needing disconnection or a small services connection.
Examples among more than 100 incidents in the past year, include illegal service alterations such as moving electrical equipment like meter boards and service cables, or leaving a ‘cut out’ at the end of a power supply, exposed.
UK Power Networks which distributes electricity to 8.4 million customers across London, the South East and East of England, has a range of safety advice including always pre-planning work, using cable avoidance tools and employing professional electricians to complete tasks.
Neil Clarke, head of connection services and disconnections at UK Power Networks, said: “Interfering with the electricity network can lead to serious injury or even death. Leaving a site in a dangerous situation is an unacceptable risk to take.
“My team are seeing at first hand too many sites being left in an unsafe state, and we feel this is a result of poor planning and a lack of expert advice.
“For the number of illegal service alterations and connections to triple in the last year is a concerning trend. It can be a mix of impatience or ignorance of the correct processes leading to dangerous mistakes being made by tampering with the network.
“We urge anyone involved in a house project which requires electrical work, be it the owner themselves or a third party, to plan properly and follow the correct safety procedures to protect them, their colleagues and the general public.
“You must allow time to contact your network provider to disconnect the power supply if you are demolishing a building, constructing a new property or removing a temporary electricity supply.”
Cable plans can be obtained before starting any work via the UK Power Networks website www.ukpowernetworks.co.uk or www.linesearchbeforeyoudig.co.uk. Any emergency incident involving electricity cables, or damaged cabling, should be reported by dialing 105. Demolition notes guidance is under the Building Act of 1984, sections 80 to 83.