Power Cut for nearly 4 hours

Monday, 7 July 2008

Update: 5.30pm - electricity continues to fail at times. We have now heard from CE Electric UK that they are still on site investigating the cause of the interruption and say they had restored the electricity supply to all but 170 properties by 3.45pm.

The Head of customer service for CE Electric UK, David Gill in a message to the Hebden Bridge Web said, “We’re pulling out all stops to get the electricity supply for the remaining properties back on as quickly as possible. As yet, we cannot say for certain what has caused the interruption but we have been restoring the electricity supply in phases by rerouting the electricity through alternative lines and cables."

3.45pm: It was quiet throughout Hebden Bridge today from just after half eleven in the morning until three to three thirty. Banks, post office, supermarkets all closed. Some shops and cafes, which did not totally depend upon modern electronics, stayed open in the dark. After 2 hours mobile networks started failing too - communication ceased with the outside world.

It is not clear whether there is any connection but staff began industrial action at CE Electric at the end of June. CE Electric UK are responsible for delivering electricity to over 3.7 million homes across the North East of England, Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire. The workers are some of the lowest paid amongst distribution network organisations and CE Electric is the only Distribution Network Organisation which has not employed any apprentices in the last 10 years. CE Electric told the BBC that measures were in place to keep supplies going.

CE electric is privately owned, its parent company is Mid-American Energy Holdings part of the entrepreneur and billionaire Warren Buffett’s group of companies.

Unite Regional Officer, Kevan Parker says, "Our members have to be available 365 days, 24 hours a day. They turn out in rain, sleet and snow at any time of the day or night, even Christmas day to make sure the lights stay on.During the floods in South Yorkshire the CE Electric staff worked tirelessly hour after hour in unimaginable conditions endeavouring to get customers back onto supply as quickly as possible.

"CE electric's pay offer is way below the industry average. The workers are already one of the lowest paid group of workers in the electricity distribution industry. Our members feel they have no choice other than to take industrial action in order to seek a decent pay increase. This will be the first time in 25 years that there has been any industrial action."


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