As your local MP I have had the below response from UK Power Networks to apologise for the terrible road delays in the Newhaven and Seaford area this week . Please be assured I will be following this up further
First of all, I sincerely apologise for the disruption these works caused local residents on Tuesday evening. We experienced a fault on one of our electricity cables which caused a power cut to local properties. In order to restore power, we needed to identify where the cable fault had occurred and undertake an emergency repair. Although the location of the fault had been identified later in the evening, it was necessary to lay out traffic management to locate the fault. We had liaised with the County Council earlier in the afternoon to discuss the works, whilst also investigating all options to avoid traffic management.
I have spoken to the immediate colleagues close to the project who state they did not receive any communication regarding the 9:30pm start. Although 8pm had been suggested, as the electricity network operator we cannot leave people without power where we have the resources to support them and fix the fault. Furthermore, many electrical cable faults are not simple, therefore if we had started excavating at 8pm or even 9:30, there would be no guarantee of when we would have identified the location of the fault and completed the repair. Furthermore, this would have increased the chance of late night excavation and repair work (which isn’t quiet!), keeping residents up in the wider area with noise on one of the hottest evenings of the year when everyone would have had windows open.
With the hole still open, we could not remove our cones as this would have meant pedestrians walking into the road, in front of traffic. Though the police did move the cones and traffic management, this meant was no safe way for pedestrians to walk past the excavation without walking into the road. Under the New Roads And Street Works Act (NRSWA), we must plan streetworks around the most vulnerable user, namely pedestrians, and therefore make safe provision for them to do so at all times, which is why we couldn’t remove the traffic management whilst it was awaiting reinstatement.
I can confirm reinstatement was carried out first thing yesterday morning and the traffic management had been removed.
That all said, we do recognise the disruption that the roadworks caused, and sincerely apologise as we appreciate we could have reduced the length and improved the management of the works.
In terms of it being a temporary repair, with all repairs we cannot guarantee that the repair will hold and therefore we may be required to undertake other works to prevent any further fault on this electricity cable. However having learnt the disruption this caused, I can state that we will engage with highways officers to discuss a plan, compliant with the NRSWA, of how could we mitigate any future work needed on this cable. This of course is preparing for the worst course scenario, should there be any further electrical fault on this cable.