Six weeks’ of damage in Sussex in just a few hours, says power supplier

Power supplies were returned to normal in Sussex yesterday (Sunday) for storm-affected customers, according to UK Power Networks.

The company said it was now reviewing ways to improve its customer service after experiencing six weeks’ worth of problems in one night.

UK Power Networks said it was aware of approximately 300,000 properties which suffered power cuts overnight into Christmas Eve, but most were restored quickly.

It said that within a few hours the network suffered six weeks’ worth of problems due to the storm damage. Engineers fixed storm damage at hundreds of locations.

UK Power Networks said many staff cancelled their holidays to help the huge effort to answer customer calls, keep vulnerable customers updated and provide them with help, and patrolling power lines to find damage for engineers to fix.

Director of customer services Matt Rudling said: “UK Power Networks’ staff have pulled together to help customers wherever possible after the worst Christmas weather in years caused widespread damage to power lines in the South East meaning it has taken longer than we wanted to reconnect supplies.

“The welfare of our customers has been a priority as we tried to keep people informed and supported wherever possible.

“Many staff gave up their holidays to repair extensive damage, volunteer in the extra call centres we opened on Christmas and Boxing Day or went out into the communities affected with updates.

“We moved engineers south from the East of England to help local repair crews, arranged hundreds of Christmas dinners and provided hotel accommodation and takeaways for the most vulnerable customers where possible.

“We are always looking for ways to improve our customer service and will review what further improvements we can make in the future.”