Electricity supply company Central Networks has revealed that its investigators believe vandals were to blame for an explosion at a Nottingham substation that caused thousands of pounds of damage and the loss of supply to over 1,000 customers.
Some local people had to be evacuated after the explosion at the substation in Papplewick, near Hucknall, and a joint investigation with Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service has revealed that the substation was broken into and vital safety equipment damaged, causing the explosion and loss of supply to local residents.
Phil Wilson, Central Networks’ customer operations manager, said: “This was an entirely irresponsible act, risking not only the vandals’ own lives but also those of the engineers and fire service who responded to the emergency calls.
“These people are reckless and simply don’t consider the potential consequences of their actions. We keep our substations fenced off and locked up for good reason.”
Engineers isolated the supply to 1,182 customers for safety reasons, with the majority back on within 90 minutes. A further 76 remained without power until the following evening while vital safety checks were carried out in all homes and businesses within the affected area.
“Those involved in this incident put themselves in serious danger of electrocution,” said Station Manager Craig Dooley, who heads the Arson Task Force at Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service. “People can think they are safe but electricity can jump or arc and we have seen instances in the past where people have been in the process of stealing things from substations and have ended up losing limbs because of the high voltage of electricity involved. This is a very serious incident and the culprits need to be found.”
Central Networks is offering a £5,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of those responsible.