Electricity boss says sorry for five day cuts in Sussex

The Argus: Electricity boss says sorry for five day cuts in Sussex Electricity boss says sorry for five day cuts in Sussex

Power bosses admitted they should have done better as electricity was finally restored to all Sussex residents almost a week after the lights went out.

UK Power Networks said the last remaining homes affected would have electricity by today as its chief executive, Basil Scarsella, admitted the firmwas not prepared for the storm.

The admission comes as another band of gale force winds and heavy rain is expected to hit today and on NewYear’s Eve tomorrow, with the Met Office issuing two more severe weather warnings.


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The restoration of power came as a relief to residents of Bolnore Village near Haywards Heath, whose electricity failed three times in the past week.

The most recent was yesterday morning when a tree leaning on overhead lines interrupted power again.

Resident James Howie, 38, said: “It’s affected about half the village.

There’s been a good community spirit and people from the top end of the village were offering their ovens to people from the bottom end, people were really rallying around to help one another.

“The annoying thing is we’ve got overground power cables which are susceptible to flooding whereas the other side of the village have got underground cables.

“There’ve been some comments that the whole village should have had underground supply but there was an issue with digging under the train track.

“The general consensus was of appreciation for the engineers who gave up their Christmas to try and fix the problem.”

A spokesman for UK Power Networks said: “We understand how frustrating it has been for customers in Bolnore village, whose supplies were restored earlier this week, only to be interrupted again today by a second unrelated problem.”

Up to 704 people were affected by the power cut through the week.

In Radford Road, Crawley, power was interrupted to 14 customers between 2.44am on Christmas Eve and midday on December 28 after an overhead power line was brought down in the severe gales.

UK Power Network’s chief executive Basil Scarsella told The Mail on Sunday the company not prepared for the storm and too many staff were on holiday.

He said: “We could not have avoided the damage caused by the storm but we could have responded to it better.

“A lot of our employees had gone away for holidays so it meant we had a level of depletion in our resources – and that caused problems with getting people’s power restored.

“It’s difficult to justify saying the company has performed well when customers have been without power for five days, but once we had an idea of how bad it was we were able to mobilise as many engineers and office staff as possible.”

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