District blacked out after lightning bolt strikes transmitter

THOUSANDS in Mid Ulster were left without electricity last Thursday when a lightning bolt struck a transmitter.

Many shops and offices were forced and there was some traffic chaos for a time as the traffic lights had failed.

Some of the major stores as well as smaller shops found tills not working and were unable to serve customers.

The lightning struck in the Dungannon area during a fierce storm shortly after lunchtime.

Northern Ireland Electricity (NIE) engineers worked to restore supplies and most people had power restored before 4pm.

NIE said it had restored electricity supplies to around 40,000 customers.

The strike happened at 14.10 and affected customers in Cookstown, Dungannon, Coagh, Creagh, Magherafelt, Toomebridge and the surrounding areas.

NIE used alternative network circuits to restore electricity to customers and the majority of homes and business had electricity on again within an hour. The last area to be restored was Magherafelt at 15.34.

Roy Coulter, NIE’s Director of Health, Safety and Risk, said, “Lightning can be devastating to the electricity network. In this case, the strike affected a major piece of transmission equipment in one of our substations. Fortunately with our engineers on the ground working closely with those in our Control Centre we were able to use other parts of our network to restore electricity to the affected customers.”

‘Here Comes Summer’...this Summer certainly looks like it isn’t going to be ‘Sugar and Spice and all Things Nice’ at the rain bounces off the ground between the thunder and lightening and the electric going off in Cookstown thanks to the weather conditions. mm28-144ar.