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Power cuts nightmare for village is ‘caused by trees’
IN the age of superfast broadband and satellite navigation, one Oxfordshire village is struggling to even keep the lights on.
Banbury MP Tony Baldry has told the Oxford Mail he knows of nowhere else in his constituency that struggles with power cuts as much as Steeple Aston.
Villager John Kinory complained about the service in the Oxford Mail in October 2002.
This week, the 65-year-old said there have been at least 10 power cuts in the past three months with the average lasting 20 minutes.
Now, Southern Electric says trees touching overhead lines had led to power interruptions last year.
He said: “We had been experiencing periods of relatively good service and then there would be a sudden burst of appalling service.
“In the last 18 months it is really hitting rock bottom again.
“It will scramble your computer, your clocks, and if you are in the middle of cooking, two minutes without power could ruin a dish.
“This country is supposed to be modern and advanced but it is not.”
The father-of-one, of Paines Hill, works from home as a translator. He added: “My livelihood depends on being able to have constant internet access.
“Without broadband I am losing money every second there isn’t power.”
More than 1,000 people live in the village between Oxford and Banbury.
Margaret Mason, Steeple Aston Parish Council chairman, said: “We certainly get some sort of cut practically every single day which is endlessly frustrating.
“The services are not cheap. Just because we live in the countryside they (the electricity firm) seem to think it does not matter that much.”
Banbury MP Tony Baldry said he contacted Southern Electric about the problem in June.
He said: “I know of no other villages or communities with problems with network transmission.”
Southern Electric spokesman Gavin Steel said the firm “continually” invested in its network.
He said: “We recognise that Steeple Aston experienced an unusually high number of interruptions to its power supply last year caused by trees coming into contact with overhead lines and activitating safety equipment.
“We have now carried out a programme of tree cuttings to address the issue and we believe this has been effective.”