2016 TURNING INTO A VERY BAD YEAR FOR
|Rural living has always meant that main
services can be less reliable than in a city but we do seem to suffer
more than most from power reliability issues. Whoever you pay for your
electricity it's the company UK Power Networks who own and maintain the
power lines across London, the East and the South Eastern parts of
England. Because of the age of their network, UK Power can easily "miss"
smaller power outages and until or unless at least two customers contact
them to say that their power has gone off they will not despatch engineers with any sort of priority. Do
PLEASE bear this in mind when your lights go off - or even just go dim -
and REPORT IT for your and all our sakes. To report you should telephone
on 0800 31 63 105.
For historical reasons
Horsted Keynes gets its power supply via 11,000 Volt overhead cables
which converge from different directions, roughly splitting the village
in half - south west and north east down the centre of the road. There
is the "Haywards Heath" line and the "West Hoathly /
Forest Row" line. The two
pubs are on different supplies so are seldom off at the same time,
meaning a bonanza for one whilst the other has candlelight. As a
youth your webmaster provided a mobile disco in the Crown Inn during a
long power outage, that was 50 years ago so our problems are not new! We
used car batteries by the way!
In our opinion the entire local power infrastructure is old
and requires complete overhaul. A journey to other parts of the UK shows
many new lines, new poles and general investment, while a look at the
other companies power cut maps seems to prove that even in Scotland and
Wales power issues are far less common..
2016 certainly seems to be an unlucky year for us - in
the "Haywards Heath" supply sector of the village anyway, as we have now had 10
proper power cuts and numerous power outages - that's when the electricity supply
suddenly drops out for a few seconds - just enough to crash a computer
or Sky box. We have had a dozen of these so far this year!
We wonder why neighbours do not get together and
install some medium sized generators to spread the cost of providing
enough power to run the lights and heating - not to mention the fridge
and freezers of course! It's true that the small £300 generators will
run a fridge but because of their lack of stability can't really be
expected to power your computer or TV without the risk of long term
Below we record a list of the more important power
events in Horsted Keynes this year. We at HorstedKeynes.com think it's
time for the Parish Council to make a formal complaint to UK Power
8th July and it's time for
Just north of the village the power went off again
today but the village itself just had flickering power that went off
enough to cause computers and TV boxes to reset - Oh dear! I know we are
not counting any more, but this seems to be number 18 this year!
6th July and power goes
off for 5 hours - then again after dark!
The 6th of July will go down as another day that UK
Power Networks cannot be proud of. Lights went off at 3.45p.m. and we
wer encouraged to be told that all would be well be 6 p.m.. Well we knew
better, as did the engineers on the grouud who confided that there was
no chance whatsoever that power would be back be then. In fact we had to
wait until almost 8 p.m. before the power came back and even then the
lights went out again just before the end of an importa t football match
at 9.45 p.m. when we were thrown into darkness for 5 minutes. It feels
like it's time to stop counting the power cuts as they are just so
numerous this seems pointless!
22nd June and the power
goes off three times due to "vermin" - that's 13 cuts this year!
When we reported the power was off at lunchtime we
were rapidly told that this was due to wind blowing branches onto the
power lines; trouble is there has been absolutely no wind today, it's
still and humid. "Ah", we were told it's vermin then! Must be pretty
enormous rats around here!
"Phone us back in 24 hours and we will see if we have
learnt anything about the cause."
You can't get through to UK Power Networks, they have
stand by generators so they're ok.
2016 Power Cut No. 10 -
6th May - 6 hours
It's 50 years old but it works so why should UK Power
Networks bother to replace it? Simple, old parts have a habit of going
wrong when they get warm so on the warmest afternoon so far this year a
junction box quite literally blew itself apart causing a 6 hour power cut
over more than 560 homes in and around Horsted Keynes.
Silhouetted against the dusk, and while the village waits to cook its
dinner, a UK Power Networks linesman works to disconnect the faulty
11,000 Volt connection box. The job was finally completed with a very
modern design that might have come from the set of Dr.Who on the 11 May
and we now have an extra 10 volts in our office! By the way this
pole is at least 50 years old and made really dreadful
creaking sounds when the linesman was pulling on it - another possible,
and dangerous, fault for the future?
2016 Power Cut No. 9
- 27 March - 14 hours
Now this really IS beyond a joke, and you may
gather that your webmasters are very annoyed at this time sorry, but
just look at the dates of all the incidents this year. Less than 24
hours after an evening with no less than 9 power outages the village
found itself completely without electricity for no less than 14 hours!
The problem is that we were again unable to report the fault correctly
for more than 9 hours - just as happened in December 2013!
OK it was storm Katie that caused the problems this
time but UK Power Networks seemed completely overwhelmed and more
important badly informed as they would not be told that some parts of
the village gets its power from a different direction. This meant that
they kept telling us that our power would be restored when a fault near
East Grinstead had been fixed - from experience we knew that this is
wrong! It does seem their "system" is to look at their map and if there is a
power cut in the general area then lump all the faults together. This
makes it impossible to explain that our fault may be from a different
So we had to sit in the dark for 9 hours and when the
power was eventually restored to the north eastern part of the village
we had a
tough job convincing them that we were still off supply.
"Have you checked your trip switch? Have you asked
your neighbours?" were the questions that dozens of residents were faced
with when they rang in again to report to UK Power Networks that they
had been without power since 2 am! Once the "new" fault was recognised
it was fixed in a few hours. The trouble is all our food spoilt with the
extra delay. Any chance of some compensation for their mistake, or is
that a joke?
For UK Power networks information all of Sugar Lane,
most of Lewes Road and part of Station Road, plus 28 homes in Rixon's
Close ALL get their power from a spur off the 11,000 Volt line that runs across the fields from the Haywards Heath
direction! Try telling them that when the lights go off though!
Whilst there is a handy map on line showing all power
cuts in south east England, the Horsted Keynes one never showed up on
this system - another cause for complaint.
This does need investigating properly and sorting out
once and for all!
2016 Power Cut No. 8
- 26 March - all evening
It really is getting beyond a joke! No less than 9
power outages in one evening when there was a problem with the high
voltage network near Crawley. Once again this affected one half of the
village while the other found its computers constantly crashing.
2016 Power Cut Nos.
6 & 7 - 19 March - 2 x 10
Two more power cuts on Saturday when the electricity went
off for 10 minutes and then another 10 minutes a half hour later! Just long
enough to let villagers restart their computers. Yes it certainly is turning
into a poor year for power in Horsted Keynes.
We don't get a penny for saying this, but we have just
purchased this UPS, that's an uninterruptible power supply which turns on a
battery supply if the mains fails - it seems quite good value. The Amazon
link is... http://amzn.to/25bwskA If
you are going to get one we recommend the high power version for a few
2016 Power Cut No. 5 - 6th. February
- up to 5 hours
We had thought that with the re-engineering of local
power networks the regular village power cuts were a thing of the past - it
seems not so! Last evening and just one week later than the first, another
power cut affected much of the southern part of the village, some for a few
minutes, others for several hours.
Last time the extended low voltage damaged some motorised
appliances - this time at least one computer bit the dust. It's getting
expensive living in the country!
How long will it be before all homes have a built in
battery back up for their important equipment?
LOW VOLTAGE "EVENT"
WRITES OFF VILLAGE 'FRIDGES, FREEZERS AND EVEN BOILER PUMPS!
2016 Power Cut Nos. 1 to 4 -
2nd to 31st. January
What UK Power Networks called a "low voltage event" when
the power to 609 local homes was reduced to 80 Volts caused damage to
several items. Our area has a reputation for having unreliable power
supplies but these usually take the form of the lights going off completely.
Unfortunately this time the volts just dropped to an extremely low level
which was not obvious to villagers who use modern LED bulbs which will run
quite happily on such low voltages.
As it was not immediately obvious that there was a
problem many villagers did not take precautions so fridges, freezers and
other motorised appliances including in one case a boiler pump ran at far
too low a speed or would not start at all. This made them severely overheat
The letter from UK Power networks is perfectly clear,
it's not their fault if their equipment breaks down and we should all insure
for such an eventuality as they will not hold themselves responsible! So
local electrical shops had a field day.
Beware, and check your insurance policies.
UPDATE - Tuesday 2nd. February More than
2 days after power restored just received automated phone call from UK Power
Networks saying it is now ok to reconnect equipment! So we can plug the
'fridge back in then, let's hope the milk is still drinkable!
EVERY HOUSE IN THE VILLAGE
ENTITLED TO A MINUMUM OF £75 COMPENSATION
Map of Sussex power cuts at height of the storm
It has been announced to Parliament by Basil Scarsella
the chairman of UKPowerNetworks today that as long as your electricity went
off at some time on Christmas Day - and we understand this includes the
entire village - you are entitled to a payment of at least £75 compensation.
All you need to do is telephone UKPowerNetworks on 0800
783 8866 and give them your Post Code. In most cases they will complete the
application on line and will send you a cheque within 10 working days, it's
as simple as that!
If you would prefer there is now an on line form to
complete, it can be found here, although some have found that telephoning is
the better method.
Please note the on line form implies that you have to
have been without power for over 48 hours. This is NOT correct. As long as
you were without power for any period on Christmas Day then the £75 WILL be
paid "as a gesture of good will", but you have to CLAIM!
Can we also remind residents that some areas of the
village experienced low voltages for a much longer period - in our case for
6 days - this can lead to a payment exceeding £400! To claim the enhanced
payment you need to advise UKPowerNetworks that you were on a voltage below
the legal minimum (which is 216Volts) for an extended period. We were on
180Volts which caused our fridge and freezer to run slowly, resulting in
excess power costs and caused damage to our computer systems. The low
voltage may also have caused yet unseen long term effects.
You receive your compensation from UKPowerNetworks
WHOEVER you pay your electricity bill to. So why not claim?
You could always donate the money to charity!
Basil Scarsella received remuneration of £1.7 Million,
and its owners took almost £150 Million last year so nobody need feel too
bad about applying!
WORST POWER OUTAGE FOR
26 YEARS AFFECTS HORSTED KEYNES VILLAGERS OVER CHRISTMAS
Updated 31st December 2013
A garden trampoline blown onto power cables in Ketches Lane.
A solitary engineer was roistered to deal with this incident, driving his
own car and armed with just a screwdriver and some boltcutters!
We are sorry that this news update has taken so long to
arrive on the internet but like most other villagers we have been without
mains power over the Christmas period.
Many villagers without home generators were forced to
throw their Christmas food away as the outages went on for more than 48
hours in some instances. One villager complained that the electricity kept
coming and going which meant food that was partially cooked had to be thrown
We do want to make one comment. That is that very, very
few villagers bothered to telephone UK Power Networks 0800 783 8866 to tell
them that their power was off especially when it went off for a second time. Now the way that their
repair work is prioritised is
that outages covering the largest number of homes are dealt with first.
Your webmasters were the only people in our road to
bother to report when the power went off for a second time (caused by a
completely different fault) which meant that in our corner of the village
power was not restored until Christmas Day afternoon. Had others reported it
we are told that we WOULD have been reconnected earlier. Please bear this in mind, next time!
We have to add that one of the casualties of the power
cut was the computer that had faithfully uploaded our web camera and weather
forecast reports. This has had to be replaced together with the
uninterruptible power supply unit. We will try to keep this new unit on line
but only the weather, and UK Power Networks can tell for how long that will
We have noticed that our lights have been dim since Christmas Day and first
reported the fact to UK Power Networks late on Christmas afternoon. Since
them we have telephoned several times to little effect. This afternoon,
after we formally reported the fault again yesterday, the voltage suddenly
dropped, to a little over 170 Volts, which instantly blew the power supply
on our server computer, this despite it being connected through an
uninterruptible power supply.
Yet another server power supply is on order, in the mean time we are using
an old laptop which can only be switched on for a half hour at a time. So
since Christmas we have had to obtain a new computer server, a new
uninterruptible power supply and just now order yet another computer power
It's all getting rather expensive and a little beyond a joke!
OCTOBER 5 HOUR OUTAGE
Off we went again - and this time it was frightening!
At about 05-45 on the morning of 5th October 2009 the house was woken by a
very loud banging noise from our meter. Everything in the house was
flashing on and off and the noise was frightening! So for the first time
in ages we turned the electricity off at the mains.
When we reconnected we found that the old fashioned
lights were glowing dimly but the energy saving bulbs were off. Our supply
was running at 68Volts against our normal 225Volts. It went on like this
for nearly 5 hours until supplies were restored.
The only casualty was the internet modem which died and
we had to buy a replacement. Nothing whatsoever from EDF energy of course
as it is obviously OUR FAULT that we left our broadband connected!
This really has to stop. you don't get things blowing
up in the town so why should we put up with it?
ARE WE POWERLESS?
Horsted Keynes gets its electricity supply from two
directions roughly split across the line of the green. Those of us to the South
have had 12 power cuts in the last year, the shortest lasting 30 minutes, the
longest lasting 8 hours. On Boxing Day we were without power for three and a
half hours and then on December 30th many of us had low or no voltage again,
this time for much of the afternoon. Things fared a little better until the 19th
September last year when many villagers had to throw their Sunday lunch into the
bin when the power went off for 4 hours.
The situation in the Northern half of the village is for
some reason slightly better but even so the old peoples housing Westall House
have given in and installed a huge standby generator in their garden!
Obviously as we live in the country our power has to come
across the fields on wires fixed to poles rather than under the ground, but we
are sure that our record of power cuts is way above average. If you, like us,
are fed up with the service that EDF Energy (the new name for Seeboard but
really standing for the new owners who are - Electricity De France) give please
get in touch.
We are surprised that EDF Energy have not arranged to feed
the whole village from EITHER supply line. As both power supply directions are
seldom cut off at the same time this would solve our problems at a stroke. If
you have kept an accurate record of power cuts in the village we would be
pleased to publish it here.
Please get in touch at
. Perhaps a "class action" could be arranged; is there a lawyer in the
ps. Seems that we are not alone. Well known song writer
and Sussex resident Richard Stilgoe bemoaned the service that he was getting
from EDF Energy on a recent edition of Countdown on Channel 4. Surely in the
Twenty First Century something can be done. Back-up generators at centres of
population perhaps? Nah, thought not ;-)
You can find more electricity information including
emergency telephone numbers on our
REPORTS ON RECENT ELECTRICAL "EVENTS"
APRIL FOOLS DAY
POWER SURGE DAMAGES VILLAGERS' EQUIPMENT
In the late afternoon of April 1st a number of power
surges affected some parts of the village. This caused damage to a number
of village computers in particular (to us) the main machine that we use to
edit this web site! Our computer has a failed motherboard which will
require replacement so we have put in a claim with EDF Energy.
Should you have found any damaged equipment in your
home (on this occasion it seems that only small appliances suffered) then
we would ask that you too claim as soon as possible as the more people who
claim the easier it will be for EDF's insurers to verify the incident.
Please note that to be damaged your equipment may
have just been on standby but it must have been connected to the mains
supply at the time of the incident.
The telephone number for the EDF Energy Customer
Service team is 0800 028 4587 - Option 4.
Remember that whoever you pay for your electricity
you are still ENTITLED to make a claim from
the people who "own the wires" - that's EDF Energy. If you do make a claim
it will help other villagers who find themselves in the same position.
Off we go again!
16th July 2009 - Not sure if we have missed some cuts but
there was a two hour break last Thursday night. This time it was the
North/Eastern half of the village affected. Seems the new cables didn't do
9th. March 2008 - The last couple of months have been quite
quiet on the power cut front but your webmaster is typing this note in the
dark as we are again without electricity. This time the outage is said to be
due to another "High Voltage Fault" but when we ring up to check progress
the automated system says that a Post Code almost 100 miles away is
affected! So we don't know if E.D.F. are even aware of our local problem.
How are we putting these notes onto the internet? We have given
up on mains power and bought some emergency back up batteries!
just after 3a.m. and the lights are back on, but how this was achieved has a
lesson for all villagers. As sometimes happens the power came back on in
Haywards Heath and Lindfield (we could see the glow of street lights on the
horizon) but we were still in the dark.
E.D.F. Energy don't monitor things that closely and
they wait until someone rings up to tell them if their home is still in the
dark. Unfortunately many villagers think that someone else will have rung
in, or perhaps they don't want to make a fuss, and our lights stay out.
It wasn't until I rang E.D.F. just after 2a.m. that they despatched a
crew to the "West Hill" transformer (wherever that is) and power was
restored. By the way, if you are the first to ring in, or they think that
the problem is that your home trip has gone, E.D.F. will threaten to charge
you a call out fee if the fault isn't on their equipment - hardly good
So if you have a power cut
please don't leave it to everyone else - ring up E.D.F.! Their emergency
number is 0800 783 8866 - it is pre programmed into our 'phone!
Spoke (typed) too soon!
At 06.50 this morning (10th March 2008) the power went off - again! Yes
there is an intense storm in the area but surely in 2008 there are ways to
reliably transfer power when it is raining? We at HorstedKeynes.Com were off
for a little under 7 hours and power has just been restored. However given
that it is very windy outside...... ;-)
Horsted Keynes split in two
November 2007 - The village was again divided in two
today as one half lost their power whilst the other carried on without a
problem. Apparently this outage was caused by a "High Voltage Fault". As E.D.F.
don't run things on batteries we wonder what other kind of fault they could
Chailey off for more than 18
April 2007 - More EDF trouble as Chailey gets it worse
than us. Seems they were off for more than 18 hours enough to earn £50
compensation! It took the delivery of two back-up generators before power
was restored to everyone in the area.
the BBC web site.
Wednesday 28th December 2005
Well we got through Christmas (just) but are now sitting
typing on a battery powered laptop computer as our lights went very dim an
hour or more ago. Rang EDF Energy to be told that there was indeed "an
incident" but they had no idea when our full power might be restored. So
absolutely no idea when we will be able to upload this update as the
internet connection unfortunately needs a good clean supply of mains
electricity (British or French) to make it work! Ours is rapidly varying
from 189Volts to 112Volts - nasty! More soon ;-)
Saturday 17 December 2005
Power is "twitching" on and off today causing the
internet to keep dropping out. Rang EDF Energy (Electricity De France) to be
told that there was little that they could do unless I told them where the
problem was! Yup, I had to do the work for them!
Saturday 25 June 2005
At 12.30 today lights in the Southern half of the village
suddenly dimmed, 'fridge motors groaned and TVs flickered. Yes a branch had
fallen across the power lines feeding the village. A telephone call to EDF
Energy revealed that we had suffered a "severe storm" and this had caused
the power problems! One small point was that we hadn't had any storm in the
Why can't EDF (Electricity De France) admit that it's their reducing the tree
clearance programme that is causing all these problem? Trees grow in Spring
and Summer and EDF used to have teams driving around the county cutting back
the offending branches. No more. It is now down to we dear subscribers who
are expected to examine our power lines and then report any branches to EDF!
So now you know what to do. Ring EDF every Spring,
tell them that trees grow in the warm weather and ask them to send out their
Power was restored three hours later, just in time to
miss the Wimbledon tennis match.
Maintenance cock-up causes 4 hour outage
A failure during planned maintenance meant that many
village families had to throw their Sunday lunch in the bin on 19th.
September 2004. The power to the whole village went off in stages starting
just before noon. Interestingly there was a man stationed by Holywell
waterworks for the time that power was restored i.e. 4 p.m. Now if this was
a "fault" how did he know to arrive at 15.55 to switch on the circuit
breakers at 16.00? Seems that EDF energy have second sight!
We will be maintaining a log of power outages in the
area. Did you know that if you have more than a certain number of outages in
a calendar year you can claim compensation? We didn't either until now. If
you know a site where the exact details are given please email the
webmasters. Note that you have to CLAIM your compensation within 28 days of
the trigger outage. What, you didn't think that they would just pay out
everybody who was entitled did you? Silly you (and us)!
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televisions, DVD's, etc during our frequent power cuts. Used with a pure sine
wave inverter can easily power a small
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during the winter!
We are not able to supply these batteries all the
time as supplies are very limited, however
if you need one please contact the webmasters and we will try to point you
in the right direction.