Apology for loss of power
Published at 07:39, Wednesday, 13 March 2013
A FAULT on a brand new piece of equipment was the reason why Otterburn was without power for six weeks at Christmas.
A hidden error on one of the newly installed automatic switches on the power lines meant that Northern Powergrid was unable to locate the problem, leaving locals in the dark.
At this week’s Otterburn Parish Council meeting, members of the organisation apologised for the lengthy period of time residents faced without power, and explained they were surprised to find the new piece of kit was faulty.
Paul Nicholson, assistant design engineer, said: “We had helicopters and all sorts out inspecting the overhead lines but we just couldn’t find the fault on the line.
“It was only after about three or four occasions when we did some further testing that alarm bells started to ring that it was the new bit of kit which was suspect.
“We apologise to all for the long disruption and thank people for their patience during this time.”
Northern Powergrid was forced to do more grovelling when the interim generator used to supply power to homes during the down time ran out of fuel.
Mr Nicholson said: “The generator did run out and that was an own goal by us and quite embarrassing.
“We are now looking at that and reviewing all our contracts with the suppliers to make sure the fuelling process is reviewed to prevent further incidents.
“If a generator to keep supplies flowing runs out of diesel, it is not something we are proud of and is something we want to put right.”
Otterburn has a long running problem with power outages, the village blighted by freak accidents in 2002.
In the space of a few months, the lines were affected when a hot air balloon collided into them and then when a Belgian helicopter pilot blundered into them during exercises between Redesdale and Otterburn Camp.
Following the problems, £9.8m was ploughed into improving the power supplies to the area with an £8m sub-station at Fourstones part of the project.
Published by http://www.hexhamcourant.co.uk