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  YOU ARE IN: POWERCUTS
   

2016 TURNING INTO A VERY BAD YEAR FOR POWER CUTS

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 damage.

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 Networks.

8th July and it's time for flickering!

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 cause.

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 minutes

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 pounds extra.

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 requiring replacement.

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.
 http://www.ukpowernetworks.co.uk/internet/en/power-cuts/claim-compensation-form/

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 away too.

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 be!

December 31st

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 supply!

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 webmaster-at-horstedkeynes.com . Perhaps a "class action" could be arranged;  is there a lawyer in the village?

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 information page.

 

Link to an interesting page showing the UK electricity demand in real time

This page shows how the frequency has varied showing how much stress the system is under

                                            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 much good!

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!

Update

It's now 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 customer relations!

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 again!

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 have? ;-)

 Chailey off for more than 18 hours!

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. Details on 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 recent past!

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 pruning team!

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)!

VERY POWERFUL RECHARGEABLE BATTERIES SOMETIMES FOR SALE AT RIDICULOUS PRICES

These large powerful batteries hold up to twice as much power as a car battery, are leak proof and can be recharged many times without fear of spillage or smell. We use them with 230 volt inverters to power lights, televisions, DVD's, etc during our frequent power cuts. Used with a pure sine wave inverter can easily power a small central heating pump for more than 24 hours, so at least you don't have to freeze 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.

 
   
APRIL 2017 We own copyright or permission to use every picture and all the text on this site. Almost all our pictures may be downloaded for personal use only, while many may be right clicked to be seen in best resolution.   You may not copy our pictures or text onto public media or another web site without our specific permission which will not be unreasonably refused as long as you ask first! Once bitten, twice shy, so we will pursue this policy by law if necessary. Please see "What I can and can't do with your pictures".
You can contact the webmasters by sending an email to webmaster@horstedkeynes.com.