Massive power cut affects 19,000 homes in Exmouth
PUBLISHED: 10:17 11 February 2018 | UPDATED: 10:03 15 February 2018
Exmouth was plunged into darkness on Saturday, February 10 as a huge power cut affected more than 19,000 homes in the area for at least an hour.
And, in an unrelated incident, more than 500 homes were without power in Honiton.
The Exmouth power cut began around 5.40pm on Saturday, February 10.
Caused by a cable fault near Littleham Cross, power was cut immediately to 19,060 customers, affecting more than half the town.
In addition, residents in neighbouring areas, including Budleigh Salterton, experienced lighting surges.
Social media rapidly filled with comments from concerned, baffled and confused householders, many of them with young children who were scared by what had happened, having never experienced a power cut before.
Torches and candles were grabbed, as residents grappled with the gloom. Elderly householders were particularly at risk, and a care agency nurse reported that she was not leaving her customers until she was sure that they had adequate lighting and were able to cope.
Rugby fans were also upset, as the power cut came in the middle of the televised England v Wales match at Twickenham.
Some resourceful viewers continued to watch the match on live streaming through their computers on battery power.
Street lighting around the town – including the complex set of traffic lights at Littleham Cross – were also affected, causing potential hazards for motorists.
The outage was so difficult to sort that Western Power Distribution had to send some of its team out to repair the damage at Littleham.
Power was restored to 16,400 homes within the hour, and the rest of the town was sorted by 8.37pm.
By now, T Rextasy’s gig was in full swing at the Exmouth Pavilion. Power surges during the show took out the T Rex tribute band’s main PA, but the group were praised for continuing to play acoustically, which, according to one audience member, made the show ‘even more special’.
Meanwhile customers at Exmouth’s Tesco store on Salterton Road found that the main check-out tills were not working, and they were asked to use the self-service tills instead.
By 11.15pm, Western Power Distribution had posted an official announcement on its website, confirming that all supplies in the Exmouth area affected by the power cut had been restored, and it apologised for any disruption that had been caused.
On Sunday, February 11, a spokesperson from the company confirmed that 19,060 customers had been affected by Saturday’s power cut.
He said that the incident was ‘an unusual one’ and ‘a difficult one to sort’. Able to return power to some customers remotely, they had to get their team on site to repair the fault.
In an unrelated incident, 546 customers also lost their power in Honiton on Saturday night.
Western Power Distribution said this was due to a transformer fault. Power was returned within the hour.