Cable theft sparks fury

David French and Robert Cannon at the nearby substation off Pyenot Gardens. (d22061114)
David French and Robert Cannon at the nearby substation off Pyenot Gardens. (d22061114)

A POWER surge that caused televisions to explode has left householders counting the cost.

Thieves broke into the Thoms Bridge sub-station in Pyenot Gardens, Cleckheaton, on Saturday night and stole reams of copper wire.

It meant huge amounts of electricity surged through the station, blowing circuits and fuses at 294 homes and leaving people without power for more than 12 hours.

Now, residents have been told by energy provider YEDL – a subsidiary of CE Electric UK – that claims for damages should be made on their own insurance policies.

“This has caused a lot of damage and could cost people thousands,” said Filley Royd resident David French.

“I was upset about my neighbour, who is a little old lady, who has had the sockets blown out of her walls, and the main fuse in her television blew as well as light switches. Her actual plug sockets were on fire.”

Other households reported smoking televisions and other electrical fittings.

Glenda Jennings, of Roydwood, said she was terrified when a neighbour warned her not to turn on anything electrical on Sunday morning.

She said: “My central heating boiler blew the circuit as well as my washing machine.”

Robert Cannon, of Pyenot Gardens, is furious that the energy firm is refusing to pick up the tab for the damage.

“Overall, there must be thousands of pounds worth of damage and YEDL say that due to its mandatory terms it will not accept liability,” he said. “That means we have to claim on our own home insurance policies that will mean an increase in people’s premiums and an excess charge, when it’s not our fault this has happened.

“The sub-station is not secure. There is no fencing and youths hang around near it.”

Mr Cannon received a letter from an electrical sub-contractor offering to test his appliances on behalf of YELD – which would cost him £144.

Residents of Heckmondwike suffered a similar fate when copper thieves struck at a sub-station last month.

A CE Electric spokesman said: “As the damage is due to third party interference, CE Electric UK is not liable for any loss or damage to customers’ equipment that occurs due to circumstances beyond their reasonable control.”