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Tree cutters in £350k 1-day scheme to stop power cuts

Trees falling on power lines have disrupted supplies in West Sussex nine times in the past year

A team of 150 workers is to carry out Southern Electric's biggest ever tree cutting programme - in a bid to reduce the number of power cuts in West Sussex.

Fallen trees hitting power lines or interfering with the network have caused nine power outages in the past year alone. The firm is spending £350,000 on the one-day operation which will see tree cutters, engineers and contractors working in Milland, Redford and Linch. Power will be turned off between 8am - 6pm in the areas with electricity being provided through temporary power generators where possible.

"We are not just minimising the risk of a power cut during high winds, but we are also reducing the number of planned outages that are needed to carry out installation of new equipment and routine tree cutting work. By doing the work in one day, and on this scale, means we don't have to keep switching off the network in the area."

– Chris Anderson, SEPD's Tree Cutting Field Manager
Tree cutters will cut back trees over an area of 200,000 square metres

The entire project will cover an area of 200,000 sq. metres. The firm has reassured the public that only vegetation and dead trees will be removed if they pose a significant threat to the network and are within falling distance of an overhead line.

The company is setting up a mobile welfare and information point to provide free hot food and drinks, as well as charging facilities for customers' mobile phones and tablets.


Kent family without power for a week

A Kent family who have been without power since December 23 are bracing themselves for yet another night without electricity.

Alexandr Prisyazhnyuk, 41, relocated to a local hotel with his wife and three children after trees fell on overhead power cables and left their home without power.

Mr Prisyazhnyuk said: "It's pretty bad, I would say, as I haven't had any response from the power company, and all the time they just promise to restore power and they haven't. According to the news, all homes had been reconnected. After that I thought everybody had ignored me and my family."

He now faces further problems as the hotel he has been staying in is fully booked for New Years Eve.

Southern Electric say all homes are now restored

Teams from Southern Electric have now restored electricity to around 130,000 homes that were affected by the devastating high winds and flooding over the Christmas period.

With around 90,000 homes affected during the peak of the storm, over 300 staff were enlisted to restore supplies as over 1000 damaged conductors on the network.

In some of the most challenging working conditions we have ever faced our teams were determined to restore every customer's home affected by the storm both safely and as soon as practically possible. Because of the rural nature of the area we needed many staff to reach small numbers of outlying customers. Hundreds of staff have taken part in this effort both in the field and in supporting roles."

– Stuart Hogarth, Director of Distribution


UK Power Networks' advice for power cuts

The UK Power Network have updated a map with the latest reported power cuts across our region.

They have also detailed advice for those without power and how to claim compensation on their website.

Live map detailing latest power cuts under UK Power Networks Credit: UK Power Networks

If your power goes off the advice is to:

-Avoid opening the freezer door to protect your food

-Turn off and unplug non-essential electrical equipment

-Keep warm by staying in one room and wear several layers of clothing

-Limit the use of your laptop or phone to retain battery

-Keep an eye on any elderly residents or ill neighbours

-If there has been a storm, stay away from fallen lines, flooded areas and debris

-After the power cut be sure to check your circuit breaker

60 homes with no power in Southern England

There are 60 homes remaining without power in the Southern Electric region this morning.

Engineers have been working to restore 740 customers since their power was originally cut earlier this week.

We would like to thank customers for their continued patience while our teams continue their work today in these areas where homes are still without electricity. We are confident that all electricity supplies will be restored by the end of today, and we will not stop our efforts until every customer has their electricity supply connected."

– Stuart Hogarth, Director of Distribution

303 homes across South East without power

There are 303 homes in Kent, Surrey and Sussex who remain without power today, according to a statement released by UK Power Networks.

The company say by the end of today all homes should have their power restored.

The current customers without powers are located in:

Kent - 169

Surrey - 22

Sussex - 112

When high winds struck on Christmas Eve, power was interrupted to more than 300,000 homes but engineers worked to restore most of these supplies.

Catering vans were also sent to Yalding and Staplehurst in Kent on Friday and provided Christmas dinner for those without power.

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