Million pound investment could fix blackout woes
MORE than a million pounds will be spent to tackle power failures which have blighted Cheltenham in the last three months.
As councillors appealed for work to be done to address the number of power cuts in the town, Western Power Distribution revealed that it planned to spend £1.3 million on improvements in Cheltenham in the next two years.
It is hoped the cash will help reduce the likelihood of blackouts in the future.
A spokesman for Western Power Distribution (WPD), the utilities company in charge of supplying Cheltenham with electricity, said: "We are sorry to anyone affected by the recent power cuts over the last few months. It is unfortunate and rare for this to happen over a short period of time and would like to assure our customers that we are focussed on providing a high standard of service and improving the electricity network.
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"The network in the area generally performs well and following investigations, all of the recent incidents are unrelated. However, we will continue to monitor the performance of the network and make improvements when there is a need to do so.
"We are committed to spending £1.3m in the Cheltenham area over the next two years. This includes the installation of more remote control equipment onto our network, which reduces power cuts and the length of time of any cuts."
The remote control equipment will allow the company access to the electricity network from its base so it can re-route power and get the network up and running quickly while engineers are dispatched to fix problems.
News of the cash injection followed the call from Councillor Andrew Chard (Leckhampton, C) speaking at a Cheltenham Borough Council meeting.
He asked the council what was being done to identify the cause of the problems and what action was being taken to remedy the situation.
He was told that the power cuts were "not a council responsibility" – a response which left him "speechless".
He said: "I do appreciate that there is little the council can do, but I believe the council should be making a fuss about it.
"While they might not be able to do anything they should be able to tell the electricity company that it is not good enough. These things do happen – if your car breaks down, fine, that's life. But if a car breaks down twice a month you would take it to the garage and this is the same thing.
"If power cuts keep happening in the same area, somebody needs to stand up and say 'this is not good enough'."
The council is putting its own safeguards in place to protect systems in a blackout.