Helicopter and thermal imaging to get to the bottom of Calderdale village power cuts

Northern Powergrid says it is exploring all avenues to get to the bottom of power cuts in Hipperholme.

Friday, 5th March 2021, 7:30 am

Joseph Thompson, who is contesting Calderdale’s Hipperholme and Lightcliffe ward for Labour, said the area had been frequently affected by power cuts and he believed it was a problem that was avoidable.

For its part, the company, Northern Powergrid, says all action is being taken.

Mr Thompson said: “There’s already enough going on, and people are suffering through an incredibly difficult time, yet they are now frequently finding themselves, quite literally, in the dark.

Thermal imaging and a helicopter will be used by Northern Powergrid

“I’ve spoken to residents who tell me they’ve been suffering power cuts on up to a monthly basis for the last 15 years.

“Covid-19 has only exasperated this situation further.

“Whereas people used to be able to go out to a pub or restaurant, now they have nowhere else to go, and are left trapped in their own homes.

“Add the fact people are likely to be home working, it’s affecting jobs as well.”

A spokesperson for Northern Powergrid confirmed that the company is taking action.

“We do understand that any power cut is frustrating for our customers – and especially during this colder weather when many people are at home due to the pandemic.

“The most recent interruptions were due to severe weather affecting our network, however we are aware of an intermittent fault which has been affecting customers.

“This fault is proving particularly challenging to locate as it has not become a permanent fault.

“We’re focused on finding the cause so we can coordinate a permanent repair for our customers.

“Our teams have already carried out a number of foot patrols across more than 4.5 kilometres of our network through wooded areas and difficult terrain.

“We’ve also carried out tree trimming to prevent any branches touching power lines and interrupting supplies.

“These actions and our patrols have helped us rule out some potential causes for the situation,” she said.

The company had specialist equipment on its overhead network, which automatically restores power when a fault clears, and this had worked successfully on a number of occasions, she said.

The company had fitted fault-finding kit called a ‘Pathfinder’ at each of its electricity pole terminals to help close in on the location and had “sectioned” this large span of network to help reduce the number of customers disrupted.

“We are closely monitoring our network and are looking to deploy our helicopter to carry out a flying patrol using specialist thermal imaging cameras which may help identify any minor damage not visible to the human eye.

“We’ve written to our affected customers to update them and we will continue to reassure them that our teams are doing all they can to locate this intermittent fault so we can carry out a permanent repair,” she said.