Fault in the town centre
The fault occurred outside the Co-Operative, in the disabled parking bay next to the signpost. Southern Electric’s team manager said the fault was with the high-voltage 11KV network that connects Whitchurch to nearby substations. As this network is a ring they were able to quickly identify the faulty location and feed power from other directions to restore service, which was restored to all businesses and homes shortly after noon.
The faulty joint is located underneath a plastic waterpipe, which they suspect may have developed a crack and leaked into the junction box, causing a short-circuit that then melted the pipe and created gasses that then blew the iron inspection plate off the junction box. Teams will be working to fix the fault until late this evening.
Two years ago the explosive failure of an underground junction of a similar nature plunged part of Newbury Street into darkness for six hours. This was on the low-voltage 415V network, so the outage was not as widespread as today. Southern Electric advise these faults are rare, and underground power lines are typically more reliable than overhead ones.
Various areas of the town were affected and throughout the morning power was being restored.