Power cut hits 13,000 homes

August 20, 2009 12:00 AM

Rochdale's MP Paul RowenA major power cut left thousands of Rochdale homes without electricity last night (Wednesday 19 August) and motorists faced dangerous conditions as traffic lights went out all over the town.

The third serious power cut in just three weeks hit 13,000 houses in the town and forced pubs and shops to close their doors.

The traffic light failure hit major junctions at Sudden near Tesco and at the entrance to the A627(M) from Edinburgh Way.

Tesco itself had to close when their check outs stopped working and the backup generator failed.

There was even sadness for football fans as they missed out on listening to Burnley's famous victory over to Manchester United on the radio.

John Swarbrick from Sudden said: "I spoke to United Utilities at the time and they told me that thousands were affected in areas like Castleton, Kirkholt, Milnrow and parts of the Town Centre.

"It was explained that a cable was down and they were trying to re-route the cables. I have also been told that motorway lights were severely affected in the area and that is a cause for great concern.

"It is also clear that many local residents could not even get through as United Utilities Help lines were swamped."

MP Paul Rowen whose office was struck last week by another power cut said: "Power cuts are deeply disturbing for a lot of people especially the elderly and the fact that just a week after the first incident this happened again is cause for urgent investigation.

"Last week for us, it was a minor inconvenience but this time it has affected a significant number of people - probably about 20,000.

"With motorway lights out, traffic lights out, the failure of United Utilities to maintain our electricity supply is now becoming dangerous.

"I have written to them calling for answers and an assurance that they will get to grips with this ever increasing problem."

Helen Wilson from United Utilities said: "We know how frustrating power cuts can be, and would like to apologise to Mr Rowen and his constituents for last night's power loss.

"Our engineers managed to get supply back on quickly - but we are very sorry if listeners missed some of the United-Burnley coverage.

"We can assure Rochdale customers that there are no fundamental problems with the electricity lines in the town. Recent power cuts have been caused by unrelated faults on different parts of the network.

"We will be happy to sit down with Mr Rowen to discuss any issues he may have."