Suffolk villagers stay positive after snow and storms bring repeated power cuts

Cratfield farmer Lotty Barbour said UK Power Networks had tried hard to fix the problems. Picture: S

Cratfield farmer Lotty Barbour said UK Power Networks had tried hard to fix the problems. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Storms and heavy snow dealt frequent power cuts to a Suffolk village – but stoic residents have praised engineers working to resolve the recurring problem.

Cratfield, near Halesworth, is said to have suffered nearly 20 power cuts in recent weeks, after a storm in January and this month’s “Beast from the East” caused problems for the network.

UK Power Networks (UKPN) has apologised to residents and said it was working to improve the reliability of its service.

Residents have accepted the power cuts with little complaint and praised UKPN’s engineers, who are said to have worked late into the night to make repairs.

Lotty Barbour, a farmer at Manor Farm in the village, said the power cuts had been an “inconvenience” as it affected machinery used to feed animals, but accepted the troubles as a consequence of rural living.

“There have been issues but I do believe UK Power Networks have tried their hardest to get it fixed,” she added. “It’s like everything in the countryside, these things sometimes take a while to repair, but, to be honest, we’ve had just as much trouble with telephone lines and potholes as we have with the power cuts.”

Sue Seabon, secretary of the Friends of the Banyan Tree charity, in the village, was also stoic about the cuts.

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“UK Power Networks have been extremely helpful every time I’ve called them about the power cuts,” she said. “They had engineers out late on Monday night working in the dark with a cherry-picker trying to fix the problem,”

One resident spoke to BBC Radio Suffolk complaining about the cuts and calling for more regular maintenance in rural areas.

“We would like a regular supply of electricity like the rest of the country,” he said. “We need to be brought into the 21st century.”

UK Power Networks said it was working to resolve the problem, which related to an equipment fault on an overhead cable. It said the recent interruptions were not related to a longer interruption on January 19, which was caused by severe storms causing a large tree to fall on an overhead power line.

“We have carried out a line patrol to identify sections of the network that are susceptible to interference from tree branches and will undertake tree trimming in relevant areas to improve the reliability of the service we provide to local homes and businesses,” a spokesman added.