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You thought BT was Bad

itsme
Grafter
Posts: 5,924
Thanks: 1
Registered: 07-04-2007

You thought BT was Bad

Yesterday at approximately 05:00 my house and a few others suffered a power outage. Not all the houses just the unlucky ones on the same phase. Phoned EDF and get an automated message we are aware of a problem in your area. How do they know this I thought as the freephone number cover all of East Anglia? Perhaps they use caller ID to determine who I am or from where I was calling from. So I phoned again but this time withheld my number still got the automated message.
So at 10:00 I phoned again as I still had not seen any EDF vans in the area and this time got throught to a human. Was informed that they knew of the problem and it affecting 100 houses. So left it until 16:00 and phoned again as I still have not seen any vans in the area, they could not really give me any more information.
Finally at 20:00, 15 hours after the lost of supply, they turned up, and by 02:00 the underground cable was repaired. Not happy that it took 15 hours before EDF started looking for the fault considering I only live 400 yards away from the main EDF control centre. This control centre handle the emergency calls but is one of the centres that control the grid as it now has similarities to a prison with the newly erected fencing.
8 REPLIES
Lurker
Grafter
Posts: 1,867
Registered: 23-10-2008

Re: You thought BT was Bad

EDF Cover *a lot* more than just East Anglia!
Your experience with them seems a typical response by them;
We were aware that we had lost a phase (P3) coming into one of our buildings, we were also pretty certain of the reason for it. (The readout from our meter told us that P3 was down, and also that the latest peak was 169KVa on that phase - on a supply rated to 140KVa)
EDF initially told us that there was a fault they were aware of.
Then they told us that they had engineers working in our area, which was the reason for the power cut (didn't seem odd to them that all the other feeds, including the other phases on that cable, from the same transformer were all still live).
Finally the chappie came out in his van and swapped the fuse over in the main supply cabinet on our site.
It was frustrating when we knew what the issue was, and what the resolution needed to be, only to be put off by 'blithering idiots'.

PS - Don't blame the engineers, there are only a handful to cover each division, which generally are pretty huge geographical areas!
PPS - Blame them a little, he declined our offer to save him any repeat journeys by leaving some fuses on site here for us. Sad

itsme
Grafter
Posts: 5,924
Thanks: 1
Registered: 07-04-2007

Re: You thought BT was Bad

Line fuses should be in a sealed box and can only be changed by EDF. Are you sure that the free phone number is not different for each area?
Lurker
Grafter
Posts: 1,867
Registered: 23-10-2008

Re: You thought BT was Bad

Line fuses *were* in a sealed box, but the kind chappie from EDF left it unsealed for us Wink
We just have to buy the fuses independently. Grin
The engineer recognises that its not strictly our fault that they blow occasionally, since the diversification factors on our estate are *very* screwy.
We actually occupy three of the units on a single supply cable, so already the diversification figures are hopelessly out, since we run 24/7 and need to be able to load each cable up to its maximum at any given time.
There is also a printing business on the same supply cable, who also run 24/7, as well a smaller 8/5 operation.
If our compressor kicks in at the wrong time, it could blow one of our fuses.
If it kicks in at a worse time, it could blow the fuses at the transformer.
If it kicks in at an even worse time, there is the potential to damage the underground supply cable.
A similar position exists for lots of our plant, and its a constant balancing act to stay within the limits of the cable.
The fuses on each supply are all seemingly selected at random too, with some being high enough that we could burn out the supply if the others were near their limits too. Some are much lower than the charged for capacity of each line.
Its all a bloody con!
If it weren't such a huge risk to our business, we'd be tempted to deliberately overload it so they would be forced to invest in their infrastructure to be able to supply us what they charge us for - trouble is that it would take too long to get the repairs done, and we could be out of business by then. Sad
itsme
Grafter
Posts: 5,924
Thanks: 1
Registered: 07-04-2007

Re: You thought BT was Bad

Good old compressors they have a knack of doing this.
i worked at a company that had a similar problem except that it took out the circuit breaker not the line fuse. Suprised that you are allowed to have the circuit breaker rated higher than the incoming line fuse. Can't remember all the in 's and out's as the site was two connecting buildings with each building having 3-phase being feed from different sub-station. The long and short of it the company had to have it's own sub-station on-site. By the sound of it this is what you should be doing.
Lurker
Grafter
Posts: 1,867
Registered: 23-10-2008

Re: You thought BT was Bad

Its what EDF would like us to do, but we don't own the buildings.
We occupy three buildings, one of which has an extension.
Each building, plus extension is owned by a different landlord (4 landlords for 3 buildings!)
The extension isn't too much of a worry, since it has never had any utility connections into it, but clearly each landlord has a desire to retain electricity in their own building.
None of the landlords is prepared to grant the permanent permissions necessary to build the substation on their land, nor are any of them prepared to have their electrical infrastructure replaced with a feed from one of the neighbouring landlords.
There is also the cost involved of the work, including the erection of the building, the laying of cables and installation of the transformer, as well as the cost of completely rewiring the internal infrastructure.
Its a couple of hundred thousand pounds minimum, and simply put, its cash we don't have at the minute (even if we could persuade the project stakeholders/landlords that the project was worthwhile.)

I daren't tell them that the A/C has been running at around 30% in the main server room, and has been off completely in the backup server room - its another quite large load to add to the demand as the weather gets warmer.
Moderator
Moderator
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Registered: 14-04-2007

Re: You thought BT was Bad

As an aside. We have our own sub-station onsite and last year thieves broke into it and stripped out all the earthing bars and cabling.
We knew nothing about it until an engineer visited the sub across the road that had been stripped and spotted ours and decided to check it.
Recently a crew came by and fitted a very heavy steel door and high security lock.
Customer and Forum Moderator.
Product of the Tyrell Corporation
itsme
Grafter
Posts: 5,924
Thanks: 1
Registered: 07-04-2007

Re: You thought BT was Bad

At least EDF are proactive in their compensation. Just had a letter/form posted through the door to claim £50 as the power lost was more than 18 hours. The power was actually off for 21 hours.
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 17,249
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Registered: 11-01-2008

Re: You thought BT was Bad

I just had a call from E.ON telling me they hadn't been billing me properly for 8 years. Ooops
Glad they can only claim a year of it back.
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