Power cut in Sussex

Yvonne and Chris Styles of Pevensey Bay. Their Christmas was ruined by a power failure. December 31st 2013 E53010P
Yvonne and Chris Styles of Pevensey Bay. Their Christmas was ruined by a power failure. December 31st 2013 E53010P

A power cut caused chaos for one Pevensey Bay couple which led them to cancel a festive family get together and throw hundreds of pounds worth of food away.

Yvonne and Chris Styles had invited relatives to enjoy a Boxing Day dinner at their home in Coast Road but they were one of many families left without electricity as stormy weather and severe flooding caused power cuts across the town.

Mrs Styles said the power went at 5.30pm on December 23 and information from UK Power Networks as to when the problem might be rectified was ‘vague’.

She said, “We had to cancel the family party because the food in the freezer had gone off. We didn’t have the time or the money to replenish anything.

“On Christmas Day we were told they didn’t think we would have any power before Friday and so we cancelled the party. Even if people had rallied around with food, we couldn’t have a party with no power.”

The 67-year-old, who was spending Christmas Day with family elsewhere, was called by a neighbour to say the power had come back on late on Christmas night. She said they had to claim on home insurance and pay an excess of £100.

She added, “If they had said they couldn’t get the power back on until Friday we could have adapted things, but it was all so vague. It’s spoilt our Christmas.”

A spokesman for UK Power Networks said, “Pevensey Bay was one of the areas in Sussex that suffered the worst Christmas weather in many years. “Prolonged winds of up to 72mph and torrential rain caused widespread damage to the electricity network. Within a few hours the network suffered the equivalent of six weeks’ worth of problems due to the storm.

“On December 23 at 5.30pm in the Coast Road area of Pevensey Bay, 2,346 customers suffered an interruption to their power supply due to high voltage overhead cables coming down in the strong winds. Although we managed to restore power to 1,875 of these customers relatively quickly, extensive repairs had to be carried out, including the installation of a new pole, to re-connect the remaining 471 customers. All customers affected by this particular incident had their power restored by 11.03pm on December 25.

“As a gesture of goodwill, we have decided to boost the industry standard payment from £27 to £75 for customers who were without power for 48 to 60 hours, including Christmas Day, and additional payments will be made to any customers off supply for longer up to a maximum of £432.

“UK Power Networks will write to all customers who are eligible for payments following last week’s storm. Industry regulations prevent us from offering compensation for loss brought about by foodstuffs stored in freezers and fridges. We always advise residential and business customers to make sure they are covered through adequate insurance.

“We realise how difficult it is to be without electricity, especially during the festive season and would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused.”