All utility companies are not the same


Nothing lasts forever so the saying goes, which includes the poles that carry high voltage cables we see dotted all over the country. Residents near School Lane in Peasmarsh are this week, having some of their poles replaced by contractors Aviedy Ltd on behalf of UK Power Networks (UKPN).

A logistical challenge no doubt but made so much easier by effective communication, unlike the recent water fiasco experienced by many residents in parts of Rye a couple of weeks ago.

New poles awaiting erection

The first stage of this operation involved UKPN writing letters (see photo below) to all who would be affected by the planned power cuts as the old poles were removed and the new ones erected, explaining in lay terms what was going to happen, when and for how long.

These letters were then followed up by email / text alerts, re-confirming all the details.

One of the cuts was on October 23 with another due on November 2. The first lasted about ten minutes although the expected outage was “up to 45 minutes” and the second cut is expected to last for “up to 30 minutes” next month.

Letter from UK Power Networks

Whilst the works are being carried out the power supply is provided by huge generators placed on grass verges and highlighted by appropriate fencing and explanatory notices. They arrived, as did the poles, with the minimum of disruption, placed on the verges awaiting erection with very little inconvenience to residents and passing motorists.

The second stage of this process is replacing the actual poles themselves but if this stage runs as efficiently as stage one it will be over and done with before anyone really notices.

It does beg the question that if one major utility company can organise themselves effectively enough to execute quite a tricky operation with the minimum of fuss, disruption and inconvenience why can’t others?

Image Credits: Nick Forman .

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  1. There is surely a lot of difference between communicating a pre-planned event and reacting to a sudden and unexpected one? Whilst there should obviously be contingency plans in place for the latter, it is nevertheless otherwise like comparing chalk and cheese.

  2. Completely agree Nick. Recently there was a downed power line on Rye Hill that affected Military Road, North Salts and other streets. UK Power Networks sent a text within 30 minutes of the power outage along with details about what had happened and when it might be cleared. They estimated a few hours but it was done in about 75 minutes. Even if it had taken longer, they kept us informed. Not so with Southern Water.

    I really do think it is time to nationalise the water companies. All of Europe and North America have state owned water and the UK should go back to that model. Privatisation of water has not worked. Investment in infrastructure has been abysmal and all of us pay the price with raw sewage in rivers and coastal areas, along with decaying pipes as was evidenced recently in Rye and Camber. Nationalised water is not a radical, ‘socialist’ plan.


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