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BT fibre cabinet install knocks out power to part of Middlewich
Thursday 01 July 2010 13:33:12 by John Hunt

We have received reports that BT contractors yesterday knocked out the power to over 400 homes and businesses for several hours whilst installing a new cabinet to house their fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) equipment.

Contractors are reported to have struck an 11,000 volt power cable running beneath the site where the cabinet was to be housed whilst installing an 1.5m long earthing rod. The cable owned by Scottish Power/Manweb provides power from a main distribution transformer to a sub-station around 2 miles from the cable strike.

Kevin Doherty, a local resident keen to subscribe to the FTTC broadband service took the photos below. In order to fix the high voltage cables, the power company has to dig several metres into his garden to install a new junction box and cable. When problems such as this occur, we understand that it is normal practice to replace the cable five metres in each direction from the break. We also understand no one was injured during the accident.

"I just hope this does not delay my getting FTTC, being this close to the BT Box would ensure a good connection for me, but I did not expect it to require me to have my garden dug-up in the process."

Kevin Doherty, local resident
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  • BT cable strike in Middlewich

The Middlewich exchange is scheduled to have fibre-to-the-cabinet services available from September 2010.

Comments

Posted by Somerset over 6 years ago
Fortunately nobody was killed or injured, if someone was it might have delayed Kevin getting his FTTC.
Posted by TaRkADaHl over 6 years ago
How funny would it be if he wasn't fed from that cab and couldn't get fttc...
Posted by adslmax over 6 years ago
Scottish Power/Manweb will going to sent BT a hecky billed for damaged their cable. Stupid BT.
Posted by herdwick over 6 years ago
JCB rash is a common complaint on underground utilities, makes a change for BT to be the perpetrator rather than the victim.
Posted by mattbibby over 6 years ago
"I just hope this does not delay my getting FTTC, being this close to the BT Box would ensure a good connection for me, but I did not expect it to require me to have my garden dug-up in the process."

That's just so funny it's wrong, really WRONG!

As the post above says "God forbid someone DIEING and delaying his FTTC"

Kevin you sad, sad person lol
Posted by themanstan over 6 years ago
Stupid BT? I could have sworn it was contractors who were being incompetent, BT will simply pass the bill on and the contractors insurance will have to cough-up.
Posted by fozi999 over 6 years ago
If they're digging up his garden then surely they could take the opportunity to give him fibre direct to his house!
Posted by otester over 6 years ago
@mattbibby

Hint of jealousy?
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
Words fail me from Kevin wanting his fibre to striking a 11,000 volt cable to the shambolic mess from the digging....... Hoorah to BT and their fibre future <sarcasm off>
Posted by Somerset over 6 years ago
The cable companies were well known for causing chaos when they were digging sometime last century.
Posted by davolente over 6 years ago
That's funny. Had a power cut myself today here in Maidstone. Must be a requirement for the installation of FTTC.I await with bated breath for my speed increase from a lousy 1 meg.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
quote"The cable companies were well known for causing chaos when they were digging sometime last century."

Very true and no doubt from the pictures and whats happened this contractor and BT still want to do things like they did all that time ago.... Cheaper to give a minimum wage worker a spade than use latest tech no doubt :(
Posted by mattbibby over 6 years ago
@otester

Maybe... shhh :-)
Posted by Somerset over 6 years ago
CB - please explain. Maybe the contractor did not use his cable detection equipment. Work was probably a few meters of new duct between cabinets.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
quote"CB - please explain. Maybe the contractor did not use his cable detection equipment. Work was probably a few meters of new duct between cabinets."

Its hard to say what they were even doing to go through a 11,000V cable, thats hardly string like in appearence. In fact even if they didnt use cable detection and were blind to not see the thing they should had been told and asked about anything like that before they began work.
Posted by mhc over 6 years ago
@CARPETBURN

Yet again you spout total rubbish on a subject you obviously know nothing about.

Why would BT have given someone a spade to install an earth rod? And what is the latest technology he should have been using? I know the answers - you obviously don't.

The shambolic mess from the digging - why not aim that at the company that did the digging - the power company.

And I presume you have xray vision and can see though 1 metre of tarmac & soil.
Posted by tonyevic over 6 years ago
BT employ contractors who should have a safe way of working and our responsible for that.
Earth Rods are provided to the DSLAMS as part of the street works furniture to meet the earth regulations.These contractors would have applied for prints, as in this case electricity was in the Zone of Interest,so driving a 3m rod in the ground could be described as irresponsible, its certainly not a case as 'carpetburn' would have us believe that they would have seen the 11000v cable.
Posted by themanstan over 6 years ago
The common problem here is that the charts showing ducting and cabling are of notoriously poor quality. e.g. the Olympics contractor cutting through the BT deep comm cable for London's emergency services.
Posted by wirelesspacman over 6 years ago
One would have thought though that a cable tracer ought to have been able to show the presence of an 11KV cable.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
quote"One would have thought though that a cable tracer ought to have been able to show the presence of an 11KV cable."

Thats far too sensible to suggest to the BT fanboys.
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
I love how the BT bashers are all over this story even though it was subbed to a contractor and they are solely to blame, but don't let that hold you back :)
Posted by TaRkADaHl over 6 years ago
Yay for everyone who ignores facts and reality!

Subcontractor = idiots
Posted by Somerset over 6 years ago
'Scottish Power/Manweb will going to sent BT a hecky billed for damaged their cable'.

Which BT send to the contractor.
Posted by office over 6 years ago
Carpetburn,
From your comment's i would take it you have never dug a hole in your life, so know nothing about how thing's like this happen!
Do you know how many cables blow on a daly basis? where digging has not take place
And if anyone or anything would have been in the hole when it blew, then some body would have been hurt, which puts to bed the idea that they were hammering in a 1.5m rod.
Its a case of ink on your hands but never had mud on your boots.

Posted by c_j_ over 6 years ago
"cable tracer ... 11kV"

I thought so too at first, but the National Grid claim that "Underground cables do not produce any external electric fields." and that "11 kV underground cables are usually a single cable: the three cores are twisted round each other in a single outer sheath. Because the cores are so close together and twisted, the fields they produce directly are very small. Instead, the field comes from any net current in the sheath."

So a passive 50Hz picker-upper might struggle. What else might work?

Source: http://preview.tinyurl.com/cable11kv
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
^^^ your link refers to OVERHEAD cables.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
Actually scraap that clicking the tinyurl twice then seems to go to underground stuff... weird. Either way just googling up shows they are easily located with portable equipment.
Posted by Somerset over 6 years ago
http://www.cabledetection.co.uk/ezicat100
Posted by c_j_ over 6 years ago
http://www.cabledetection.co.uk/ezicat100

I've seen these and similar. They either detect 50Hz from the cable (which Gridco say doesn't happen with 11kV cables) or, afaik, rely on a signal generator to inject a signal into the cable and then the detector can be used to follow that signal as it passes along the cable -obviously that one requires thinking and connecting. Is there a third way?
Posted by c_j_ over 6 years ago
One possible third way might be a variation on the traditional "metal detector" designs, where the detector coil is part of a tuned circuit whose frequency changes when a metallic object is in range of the field from the coil. There are different metal detectors on different principles too.

These things will detect metal objects within "reasonable" distance, subject to the usual constraints of decreasing accuracy as range increases.

You'd perhaps have thought that one of these would detect an 11kV cable (or other metallic object) even if the radiated 50Hz won't do it.
Posted by skincomb10 over 6 years ago
So this is possibly what put my power out for a few hours then? I'm just outside Northwich (approx 8-10 miles away) Not that I'll get FTTC in the next 10 years.....there's only about 1500 on Comberbach Telephone Exchange (MRCOM)!
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
Considering the cable is likely to be atleast an ich thick and have a brightly coloured covering even without whizz bang gadgets to detect it they should had never gone through it if they were digging carefully, which they should had been because before starting work, things like what else is burried there should had been considered and looked into.
Posted by mhc over 6 years ago
"Posted by CARPETBURN 24 minutes ago
Considering the cable is likely to be atleast an ich thick and have a brightly coloured covering even without whizz bang gadgets to detect it they should had never gone through it if they were digging carefully, which they should had been because before starting work, things like what else is burried there should had been considered and looked into. "

THEY WERE NOT DIGGING !

Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
Someone dug a huge hole, be it BT a contractor or whoever, someone made a big hole and didnt do it very carefully.
Posted by Somerset over 6 years ago
Surely an earth rod is just banged into the ground?
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
quote"Surely an earth rod is just banged into the ground?"
Oh i see what you and mhc are saying now.
Maybe they did just bang it into the ground without checking first what was below, which in turn has led to all this digging to repair things.... If thats the case thats even worse, they are lucky the didnt cause more damage to other things which may be burried nearby or got a nasty shock. (maybe literally). Either way shambles start to finish.
Posted by KarlAustin over 6 years ago
Ugh, CB they were not digging - the digging would have been done afterwords to work out what had gone on and get to the damaged cable - you can tell that from the pictures, because the dug hole follows the cable. An Earth rod is hammered in to the ground, you don't need a dirty great big hole to put an Earth rod in, any excuse to bash BT.
Posted by KarlAustin over 6 years ago
As others have said, I'll bet you they did check and the plans they were given told them the cable was further away so they thought they were safe.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
quote"As others have said, I'll bet you they did check and the plans they were given told them the cable was further away so they thought they were safe."

Thats doubtful and a cable like that the relevant organisation would know the location of. The contractors who whacked in the earth rod were more than likely irresponsible. No doubt in following months we will find out for sure.
Posted by Somerset over 6 years ago
Many plant records of all utilities are known to be inaccurate...
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
They would had known there was a cale in that area in that street at the very least and from the photos where it appears to be is where anyone with common sense would expect.
No excuse they messed up.
Posted by Rockh over 6 years ago
Consac is very difficult to locate with a cat. That aside, the cable records were probably accurate enough, the location looks like a fairly new build so the cable will have been laid at the same time as all the other utilities so could well have been out of location, however it was most likely contractor carelessness. They seem to like the addage that the insurance will sort out the mess.
Posted by abscomm over 6 years ago
I would have thought that the Power Company would have been required to come out to site and mark the location of their cables BEFORE any ground rods or anything else penetrated the soil. In which case the Power Company would bear full responsibility here.
Posted by Rockh over 6 years ago
Nope no responsibility on the DNO's behalf. The contractors are required to get the appropriate info from ALL the utilities. It is the contractors responsibility to ensure the staff are provided with the info and tel-tales marked to show the various utilities.
Posted by NetGuy over 6 years ago
Ignoring the power aspect for a moment, what I find annoying is that a town three times the size, around 20-30 miles south west of Middlewich, has no apparent prospect of getting FTTC. Where's the logic, BT ?
Posted by ChrisNWIX over 6 years ago
@NetGuy

I believe this is what they call practice, make the mistakes and learn the lessons out in sticksville before deploying across a larger territory. Are you saying that FTTC is not planned at all for you? Or just the near future?
Posted by NetGuy over 6 years ago
WNWX (central Wrexham) has no date for FTTC.

I'm (unfortunately) not even on that exchange, but a smaller one (WNWXN) and 6km from there as the cable runs, so get 160kbps to 488kbps [if I am lucky]. Would love FTTC as the nearest cabinet is under 50m away!
Posted by NetGuy over 6 years ago
Sorry - typo - 448kbps. Sometimes upstream faster than down!
Posted by utilitechsurvey over 6 years ago
If only BT would have used a good survey company to locate all the surrounding utilities before they started digging and not just a cat & genny!...


www.utilitechsurvey.com
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