Belfast Telegraph

Friday 18 April 2014

Has Assembly power to fix electricity supply?

In the 21st century, mains electricity is so crucial to our lifestyle that the security of its supply is vital – in the strict sense of that word.

You report (News, March 25) that 2,000 homes are still without supply after four days and that is a disastrous position.

Footage of broken poles and blocked roads has some relevance, but, if we think more deeply, these are not the crux of the problem.

Our cold snap came stealthily, it is true, but fierce weather in March (or in any other month) is not unprecedented.

A service on which lives depend should not be so vulnerable to the kind of weather we know we can expect to have at some uncomfortable stage.

If the poles broke, were they beyond their lifespan? Or were they of a type that could not be expected to cope?

If a pylon came down, was it corroded? Or was it of a design that was not fit-for-purpose?

The supplier of our electricity enjoys a monopoly, but the paying public deserves a much-improved security of supply – at all times and in all conditions. It is difficult to accept that some appreciable proportion of the problems could not have been prevented.

Perhaps the relevant committee of the Assembly will have a detailed look at what went wrong. Clearly something did.

pro bono publico

Portstewart, Co Londonderry

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