POWER CUT UNEARTHS PENARTH’S CENTURY-OLD ELECTRICITY CABLES

Engineers had to dig down into Archer Road to locate the cable faults

Engineers had to dig down into Archer Road to locate the cable faults early this morning (Photo Kevin O’Sullivan)

It’s emerged that some parts of Penarth suffered electricity cuts last night  as a result of a “multiple failures ” in underground mains cables .

Amongst the areas affected were Sully Terrace and Berkley Drive where power was lost just after 20:00 and was not restored until the early hours of this morning. Western Power Distribution – the utility which provides power to Penarth – said they were first alerted to the problem at 21:02 last night .

Local residents said a team of engineers attempted to sort out the problems at a local switch box  – but then called in mechanical diggers to locate the faults in the underground cables.

A cross section of vintage four-core power cable - wrapped with waxed paper and tar as insulation (Photo Kevin O'Sullivan)

A cross-section of vintage four-core power cable – wrapped with waxed paper and tar as insulation (Photo Kevin O’Sullivan)

One eyewitness who is a professional engineer said the buried cables which were eventually exposed, looked “ancient” and comprised a type of obsolete four core which were insulated and protected with a coating of waxed tar paper .

Western Power Distribution says these old low voltage cables are not routinely replaced and can last for many years – but they are replaced if  they become faulty.

Western Power Distribution said the faulty cable was a four-core low voltage power cable comprising “three phases and a neutral”.

New pvc-covered cables have now been installed in the problem area.  A total of 54 homes were affected and power was restored to them at 03:32 this morning  . All consumers in Penarth should currently have normal supplies.

Manhole covers in various parts of Penath still carry the words "Penarth E L Co Ltd"

Manhole covers in various parts of Penarth still carry the words “Penarth E L Co Ltd”

Some underground cables in the town  could possibly be a legacy of Penarth’s original electricity power station – or “Electric Works” as it was called – which was at the junction of Westbourne Road and Forrest Road . (Thanks to PDN poster David Moorcraft for pinpointing the location )

The Electricity Wrosk is at teh right of the

The “Electricity Works”  is at the right of this map-extract at the junction of Westbourne Rd and Forrest Road .

This was run by “Penarth Electric Lighting Co Ltd ” . The station appears in a 1918 map of Penarth and locates the long-demolished power station at the junction of Westbourne Road and Forrest Road. Penarth Library’s  Chief Librarian Marcus Payne has found that the station was first-established in 1898.

A contemporary newspaper cutting indicates that Penarth Urban District Council had the right to buy the power station 38 years after it began operations.

A contemporary newspaper cutting indicates that Penarth Urban District Council had the right to buy the power station 28 years after the date of the order .

It appears that the original provisional order to install electricity in Penarth was deposited with the Board of Trade under the provisions of the Electric Lighting Acts of 1882 and 1890 (see https://archive.org/stream/electricalengin00unkngoog/electricalengin00unkngoog_djvu.txt )

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Penarth Daily News email address dmj@newsnet.uk . Penarth Daily News is an independent free on-line fair and balanced news service published by NewsNet Ltd covering the town of Penarth in the Vale of Glamorgan, Wales, UK. All our news items are based on the information we receive or discover at the time of publication and are published on the basis that they are accurate to the best of our knowledge and belief at that time.
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18 Responses to POWER CUT UNEARTHS PENARTH’S CENTURY-OLD ELECTRICITY CABLES

  1. Ivor Bagman says:

    I am very impressed with their
    Expedition and prompt response.

    • Richard Metcalf says:

      I believe the original power station was at the junction of Forrest Road and Westbourne Road.

      • Richard Metcalf says:

        Further to my note above there was a traditionally- shaped timber cooling tower in the NE corner of the Westbourne / Forrest Road Junction. My parents and I lived in Augusta Crescent in the 1950’s and we had a good view of the tower from our back garden. Very occasionally it steamed – boiler testing in the power station ? Kestrels and jackdaws used it for nesting. It was demolished circa late 50’s – plank by plank, due no doubt to the restricted size of the site. Reference the OS map from Penarth Library, the National Library of Scotland has on-line copies of most issues of the 6″ OS maps – really worth a look.

  2. Martin Coffee says:

    I agree that there is no need to routinely replace these old cables. Just think of the chaos whilst they do this work. I think it’s much better to put up with the very occasional power failure.

  3. Robert Donaldson says:

    No xmas lights again in Windsor road tonight @ 1800hrs.

    Robert.

    • Colin says:

      No ‘Christ’ in Christmas. Stop taking the Christ out of Christmas.

      • pompousfruit says:

        It’s not a Christian festival anymore and it wasn’t one originally. It’s origins are in Yule, the Winter Solstice and Saturnalia before Christianity spread throughout Europe. I don’t just write Xmas as a short cut but also because Christmas has become more and more like Saturnalia in the past 20 years. The behaviour of most people at Christmas is less Christian than at other times of the year as it’s now bringing out the worst in people.

  4. Frank Evans says:

    Yeah can’t complain about response. But paper electric cables, lead water pipes, cast iron gas mains. Penarth the land time forgot.

  5. David Moorcraft says:

    WAS there a power station at the junction of Lavernock Rd and Castle Avrnue ? Because there was the old DC generating station at the junction of Westbourne and Forrest Roads.

    • newsnet says:

      David Moorcraft – Thanks. You are absolutely right. The location of the original power station was on the South Eastern corner of the intersection of Westbourne Road and Forrest Road. Sorry for the mistake. The item is being amended.

    • Penarth Electrician says:

      I Often wondered what was there before “Westbourne Court” flats were built.

      The Electric Works occupy the same foot print, see the attached image of the old and new map superimposed.

      Maybe Google Maps will come up with this one day!, where you can scroll back through the years on a section of a map.

      • newsnet says:

        Marcus Payne the Chief Librarian of Penarth LIbrary has today kindly looked up the date when the power station was first established in Penarth. It was in 1898.

      • Dan Potts says:

        This is all fantastic local history, after the Electric Works, the site was a Post Office. Telephones , later BT training centre and stores,the chimney had one of Penarth’s air raid sirens on it.

  6. Penarth Electrician says:

    54 homes on this cable#?!!#
    3 phases and one neutral. No 3 phase loads, all domestic. Assume ~50% current via PME (earth return). The cable looks about 40mm external diameter, so a modern 4 core cable would be 300 amps per phase. So 900 amps total divide by 2 equals 450amps for 54 house!!
    9 amps per house, so please all don’t use your 10kw (45 amp) showers at the same time.

  7. snoggerdog says:

    im sure i read somewhere that western power distribution is chinese owned now .

    • AK says:

      Great – so all new cabling and switchgear will be ‘Made in China’.

      Better buy some candles and a couple of good torches.

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