1,600 homes and businesses left with no power after cable damage

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A contractor has escaped injury after damaging a high voltage underground electricity cable in Lisburn.

Around 1,600 homes and businesses in Sprucefield, Hillsborough and surrounding areas were left without electricity shortly after 3.00pm on Monday, March 30 following the damage.

The incident happened as a contractor, excavating a trench for a new water main, hit and damaged a high voltage 11kV electricity cable supplying the local area.

NIE emergency crews responded immediately, arriving on site to assess the damage.

NIE stressed that the majority of customers were restored within an hour and a half, with the remaining eight customers restored later that evening after repairs and safety checks had been completed.

Christine Kelly, NIE customer relations manager for the area, warned that this incident could have caused injury, or even death.

“Contractors should exercise extreme caution when working in the vicinity of underground cables, using safe working practices such as digging trial holes and digging by hand to avoid any damage to or alteration of the location of the cable,” she said.

“I am also concerned about the inconvenience caused to homes and businesses in this busy area. ith improved working practices, the inconvenience to local customers would be greatly reduced.”

NIE currently offers contractors a wide range of advice and assistance to help them avoid underground cables including advice leaflets, videos and free maps and diagrams of the underground electricity network.

Contractors should also check the NIE website nie.co.uk for additional safety guidelines, follow HSENI guidance HSG 47 at all times and, if in doubt, contact NIE on 03457 643 643.