And the lights went out


As freezing temperatures set in and the weather took a turn for the worse, and Sunday lunch was about to be dished up, hundreds of homes in parts of the Rye area lost their power – and the lights went out, and not just on the Christmas trees (like the Lights of Love tree in St Mary’s, above).

At 12:56pm there was a fault in overhead equipment and some 1,718 homes were affected. Fridges went silent, the TV died, most boilers stopped as well, and the power network engineers were on their way by 1:07pm.

As the Rye area is mainly agricultural with limited numbers of businesses, and has few blocks of flats or multi-occupation houses, it is reasonable to assume that the majority of the affected customers were individual houses. Valley Park homes on the outskirts of Rye were one of the areas badly affected.

Remote diversion by UK Power Networks sent the power around alternative routes in the network and by 1:50pm the majority of customers saw the power return. 96 homes were still affected as power supplies could not be re-routed to them – and it was another three and half hours before they got their power back.

The engineers arrived at the site of the fault at 2:48pm, approaching two hours after they set off, and the 96 customers still affected were being reassured that food in fridges would keep for 6-8 hours and food in freezers for 15-24 hours (provided the door is kept shut).

An hour later the engineers said they needed more time, but the fault should be fixed between 5 and 6pm – and in fact it was fixed by 5:27pm.

If you are ever affected by a power cut you can call UK Power Networks on 0800 31 63 105 or text POWER along with your full postcode to 80876.

If you are dependent on medical equipment such as a ventilator, dialysis or bath hoist you may need a priority service and can arrange this in advance by ringing 0800 169 9970 or emailing or writing to Priority Services, UK Power Networks, Fore Hamlet, Ipswich IP3 8AA. There is no text facility for Priority Services.


Photo: Kenneth Bird

Photo: Kenneth Bird

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