OVER 2000 homes and businesses in Cookstown were left without electricity on Saturday (May 4) following contractor damage to a high voltage underground. cable.
The incident happened as a contractor digging storm drains in the Omagh Road area of the town hit and damaged an electricity cable supplying the area around 12.45am.
Northern Ireland Electricity has once again warned all contractors working in the vicinity of underground electricity cables to follow strict safety guidelines.
NIE emergency crews, responded immediately, arriving on site to assess the damage and restoring supplies to all customers by 2.25pm.
Fiona McClintock, NIE Customer Relations Manager for the Cookstown area, says contractors should always contact NIE for marked up drawings of the electricity network prior to starting work.
“Underground cables are not just located in urban areas and contractors and farmers need to be aware that there could be cables present at their work site. Contractors should exercise extreme caution when working in the vicinity of underground cables, using safe working practices such as digging trial holes and digging by hand to avoid any damage to or alteration of the location of the cable,” she said.
And she added: “Any incident of damage to the electricity network can cause inconvenience to customers in surrounding areas and place contractors at risk from injury. I am particularly concerned about the inconvenience to local homes and businesses over the weekend.”
NIE currently offers contractors a wide range of advice and assistance to help them avoid underground cables including advice leaflets, videos and maps and diagrams of the underground electricity network. Contractors should also check the NIE website www.nie.co.uk for additional safety guidelines and advice.