Hundreds of customers left without power in Bedfordshire village after fault with underground cable

Engineers worked quickly to restore power in Cotton End - but a resident has expressed frustrations over 'recurring' problems

Sunday, 23rd May 2021, 3:00 pm
Updated Sunday, 23rd May 2021, 3:10 pm

Hundreds of customers in Cotton End, near Bedford, were left without power on Friday (May 21) after a fault with an underground cable.

According to UK Power Networks, power was interrupted to 302 customers in Cotton End and surrounding areas at 7.52am on Friday, after a fault with an underground cable.

A spokesman said: "UK Power Networks engineers worked quickly and safely to restore power in stages with the final 91 customers back on supply at 10.37am. We apologise for any inconvenience caused."

UK Power Networks engineers were called this morning

One resident claims this is not the first time this has happened and called on the management company to solve the problem.

But the UK Power Networks spokesman said the last reported incident was an unrelated power isolation on December 2020, so there are not believed to be any ongoing issues.

And he added that UK Power Networks invests hundreds of millions of pounds to upgrade its networks each year.

Penelope Sowter told Bedford Today that the problems first arose in 2013.

She said: "Due to the high winds I hoped that it was just a pylon that had been damaged and that the problem would soon be repaired.

"But about two hours later the large mobile diesel-powered generator owned by UK Power Networks showed up opposite my house

"I spoke to one of the operatives to see if the problem was just a pylon - but no - the high winds were just a coincidence - and yet again, within around five months this time, there has been another fault due to old underground power cables.

"As a result, all the residents in Bunkers Drive have to put up with a large noisy and polluting diesel generator for days on end while workmen find the location and repair the latest underground fault."

"The constant background noise is very intrusive and makes it difficult for residents whose bedrooms face the road to sleep. If the wind blows in the wrong direction houses can be filled with diesel fumes."

She was told that the generator would be in place "at least throughout the weekend".

She added: "At first the power failures were around once every two years, then around once a year and now just six months apart.

"Everyone pays their electricity bills and yet the management in charge are doing nothing to solve this problem that is becoming more frequent.

"It is also bad for the environment as old faulty wiring means more diesel power generators are needed that emit CO2 and other pollutants.

"It must also be expensive to keep looking for recurring underground faults and digging up soil to reach the cable."

The UK Power Networks spokesman said: "UK Power Networks invests more than £600 million in upgrading its electricity networks every year.

"The company’s operational teams deliver safe and reliable power supplies, which enable the increasing uptake of electric vehicles and electric heating towards a low carbon future."