Power cut caused by combine harvesterBy Hugh Fort
September 13, 2012
Nearly 3,000 homes in Binfield and Wokingham had their power knocked out after a combine harvester hit an overhead cable.
Last Wednesday 2,818 homes were cut off for around an hour after the electricity line was damaged at 6.05am.
A similar incident happened in Oxford on Friday, leaving around 5,000 people without electricity. Supplier Southern Electric Power Distribution (SEPD) is carrying out investigations.
Ewen Christie, regional operations manager for SEPD, said: “It is imperative that farmers who continue to work late into the evening take extra care to check the whereabouts of overhead lines, not just in their fields, but around the roads and tracks they use to access them.
“With many farmers trying to make up for lost time when rain has led to lengthy delays, they were now taking advantage of drying winds and warmer weather to work longer into the evening.
“And while some are approaching the end of their wheat harvest, they still have other later crops such as linseed and beans to cut.
“With darkness falling much earlier now, and operatives getting tired, it can be very easy to miss obstacles such as power lines or electricity poles.
“Every year we remind people to take care, but following these incidents we are issuing fresh warnings, because if a vehicle comes into contact with or even comes near an overhead line, it is a recipe for potential tragedy.
“People must remember that electricity can jump through the air, so it’s crucial that anyone operating agricultural equipment is aware of the optimum height to which they can extend their equipment.
“They must remember to retract it when they are not using it, and they should be aware of the location of overhead lines before they move on to the next field.”
The company is giving away a free sticker for the cabs of agricultural vehicles, to remind the drivers to check the height of their equipment.
For more information call 0800 072 7282 to ring or visit www.ssepd.co.uk
More information on power line safety can be found at www.hse.gov.uk