Concerns raised after residents left without electricity in Ballyarnett

Independent Councillor Warren Robinson. DER1816GS029
Independent Councillor Warren Robinson. DER1816GS029

Independent Derry & Strabane Councillor Warren Robinson has questioned why local residents were not briefed after being left for a full day without electricity.

Colr. Robinson was speaking as he urged Northern Ireland Electricity to explain to customers why it took until night-time to repair a fault in the Ballyarnett area on Friday last.

NIE have responded that the nature of the fault and weather conditions made it difficult to predict when the fault would be fixed.

Colr. Robinson said:“I was made aware that electricity was out in the Thorndale and Paddocks area of Ballyarnett after being contacted by some residents who were affected.

“Concerns were raised in particular because this area houses a large proportion of elderly residents.

“I immediately contacted NIE and was informed that a third party contractor had damaged a cable in the area. I was told that a repair team were on site but NIE could not give me an estimate for when the fault would be repaired.”

Colr. Robinson added: “I understand that sometimes circumstances may mean there is a delay in having repairs carried out but electricity was off in this area for ten hours and my concern would be that elderly residents were left with no information and no offers of help from NIE.

“NIE do have a duty of care to these customers, I believe they have a particular duty of care to our elderly neighbours who have contributed to NIE profits for decades. NIE need to put measures in place whereby if there is a delay that this is immediately communicated to the affected residents. “

Responding to the concerns raised, a spokesperson for NIE Networks said: “NIE Networks received reports of a fault at Paddock Lane at approximately 1.00pm on Friday 9th November. An underground electricity cable had been accidentally damaged by a third party contractor resulting in a small number of customers experiencing loss of electricity supply. The damaged cable required isolation for safety reasons before engineers could begin to carry out repairs.

“We do endeavour to provide our customers with information where possible, however, it was difficult to provide an exact time for restoration on this occasion due to the unforeseen nature and complexity of the fault, as well as the safety required to undertake the repairs.

“This was further compounded by our engineers operating in adverse weather conditions.

“Following excavation work, repairs were carried out to the damaged cable with supply to all affected customers restored by 8.45pm on Friday.”