Contractor escapes injury in Gilford cable incident

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A contractor has escaped injury after damaging a high voltage underground electricity cable in Gilford.

Around 1,100 homes and businesses in the village and surrounding areas were left without electricity shortly after 4.30pm on Monday, March 23, following the damage.

The incident happened as a contractor, working at a new housing development site, hit and damaged a high voltage 11kV electricity cable supplying the local area.

NIE emergency crews responded immediately, arriving on site to assess the damage. The majority of customers were restored within two hours with remaining groups of customers restored at 8.10pm and 9.50pm.

Christine Kelly, NIE Customer Relations Manager for the area, said the incident could have caused injury, or even death. “Contractors should exercise extreme caution when working in the vicinity of underground cables,” she said, “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.

“Colour copies of NIE’s marked up drawings showing the location of underground cables should be on site at all times.

“I am also concerned about the inconvenience caused to customers over the dinnertime period. With improved working practices, the inconvenience to local customers would be greatly reduced.”

NIE offers contractors advice and assistance to help them avoid underground cables, including advice leaflets, videos and free maps and diagrams of the underground electricity network.

Contractors should also check the NIE website nie.co.uk for additional safety guidelines, follow HSENI guidance HSG 47 at all times and, if in doubt, contact NIE on 03457 643 643.