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A powerful way to help out

UK Power Networks engineers have stepped in to help other areas affected by this week’s atrocious weather.

From Press releases - 6 December 2013 12:00 AM

UK Power Networks engineers have stepped in to help other areas affected by this week’s atrocious weather.

Despite having some problems on the electricity distribution networks in the East of England and the South-East, the company has now found scope to send engineers to work on overhead lines to get customers on the North back on supply and then to protect a phone exchange threatened by flood water.

The electricity industry has an established record of assisting fellow companies during times of crisis and that was called into action this week when thousands of customers in the UK found themselves without power after winds of 100mph ripped across the country.

UK Power Networks spared 20 engineers after strong winds subsided in East Anglia and they arrived in Keighley, West Yorkshire, today (December 6), having driven their work vehicles northwards through the morning.

Bill D’Albertanson is emergency planning manager at the company. He said: “This was a chance for us to pay back our colleagues in the North after they helped us in our hours of need in October after the major storm.

“This all goes to prove that our industry can co-operate well and provide the sort of service that our customers need and expect.”

Meanwhile, during the flooding alert down the East Coast, UK Power Networks had some spare barrier equipment left over from protecting substations in Norfolk and Suffolk.

The emergency control centre co-ordinating the response asked if 200m of barriers could be taken to the Rampart Road phone exchange in Great Yarmouth. There 30 soldiers were available put up the barriers, which come in metal sections and are then covered with tarpaulin.

UK Power Networks supplied the sections and sheeting but also some engineers to speedily train the soldiers. The request came in at 5pm yesterday and by about 9pm the barrier was completed around the exchange. The high tide came in at about 10.45pm.

Lead engineer Steve Newson said: “I was very proud to see my colleagues working with the Army to protect our customers in a different way. Once we had protected our own equipment we wanted to assist in any way we could in the crisis situation.”

His team also helped protect a mobile phone mast by installing sand bags, ensuring police and fire crews were still able to use their phones.