Essex village residents furious with UK Power Networks for wanting to cut off power supply ‘on one of the coldest days of the year’

DUDDENHOE End residents have attacked the bright sparks who want to turn off power to their homes to carry out trimming and pruning maintenance work in the village.

Contractor Fountains, formerly Connaught, is carrying out work on behalf of UK Power Networks.

On Tuesday the contractor posted a circular through the doors of residents advising that on Wednesday December 15 the electricity supply to their homes will be turned off between 8.30am and 4.30pm, and possibly longer if unexpected problems arise.

Around 70 houses in the village could be without power on one of the coldest days of the year.

Resident John McAdams, who is the village’s neighhourhood watch co-ordinator, said: “It is outrageous to expect people to endure hours of cold and dark at this time of year, particularly the aged, ill and young, when this work should have been undertaken during the summer months.

“They had the nerve to post this circular on Tuesday, one of the coldest days experienced this year. We were invited to contact the works coordinator for more information and given a number to call, but the calls went straight into mail box and were not returned.”

Although tree work was done in the summer there were areas outstanding where the power had to be cut off.

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A spokesman for UK Power Networks said: “UK Power Networks is committed to delivering a safe and reliable power supply and is investing more than �17million this year to trim back trees from our overhead power lines across the East of England.

“If branches touch the lines it can cause a fault or a loss of supplies, especially during storms and windy weather. “As part of this, we have arranged for our specialist contractor to carry out urgent tree trimming work in the Duddenhoe End area of Saffron Walden on December 15. In order for this work to be conducted in safety, we need to temporarily interrupt power supplies to about 70 customers in the area from about 8.30am to 4.30pm. If possible we will restore power supplies sooner.

“Our maintenance programme is an all year round operation, although during severe weather particularly when temperatures fall below freezing, we usually postpone scheduled work which affects power supplies to customers. That decision is usually made on the day.

“It is our usual practice to notify customers well in advance of such work so they can prepare for a lack of power. The industry rule is normally two days before the work but in this case, we have provided more than two weeks notice.

“We encourage customers who rely on power for essential business or commercial reasons to arrange back-up supplies for times like this.”