Power firm slammed over road chaos

Transport for London (TfL) has accused UK Power Networks (UKPN) of failing to notify them of repair works in a busy London street.

Thousands of commuters were held back as the street was reduced to one lane because of emergency repair work by the power firm, causing delays in a wide area, including Tower Bridge.

TfL said that when they tried to contact UKPN over the weekend, the relevant officials were not available.

It also stated that the customer service department of the distribution firm was unaware of the repair works.

Leon Daniels, managing director of surface transport at TfL, hit out at the company's conduct, calling it "deeply frustrating and wholly unacceptable".

He said: "Once again, people's commute into London has been thrown into utter chaos because a utility company can't simply work out what its left and right hands are doing."

UPDATE - RAC have received a statement from UKPN in response to this story:

UK Power Networks apologises wholeheartedly for the traffic disruption caused by our emergency work in Upper Thames Street this morning (Monday Sept 12).

At 7pm on Friday we started an emergency repair to protect power supplies across a wide area, by excavating an underground electricity cable in Upper Thames Street. We always endeavour to keep disruption to a minimum and are aiming to complete this work before this evening’s rush hour.
 
We advised TfL on Saturday morning via the usual electronic notification channel and left a telephone message on Friday night. However we understand that TfL did not receive our notification until this morning (Monday), and that additionally, our actions did not satisfy the special requirements in place for this road, and for this we apologise.
 
While this incident is regrettable, it is important to stress that we successfully carry out more than 100,000 excavations every year to enable us to provide a safe and reliable power supply to eight million homes and businesses across London, the South East and the East of England.  We recognise that our work can be disruptive and always do our best to minimise any inconvenience.
 
A senior manager will be meeting with TfL to discuss any further concerns they have.

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