THOUSANDS of homes and businesses were plunged into darkness after yobs threw a branch into an electricity substation.
Homes in the West View area of Hartlepool suffered a power cut around 7.50pm yesterday, with more in the Dyke House area affected for a short time while the power was being restored.
Bosses at CE Electric say the blackout was caused after a branch was thrown into a substation – and objects being thrown inside the units are a regular occurrence.
Around 1,600 properties were initially affected, but the total rose to 6,000 as engineers worked to get the power back up and running.
By 8.35pm, when the problem had been identified, and the branch was located, power was restored.
The substation had to be turned off temporarily while the branch was removed, resulting in a total of 6,000 homes being affected for around five minutes.
Homes in the Bruce Crescent, Bruntoft Avenue, Davison Drive, Skelton Street, Jones Road, Miers Avenue, Sedgewick Close, Sharp Crescent, Warren Road, West View Road and Winterbottom Avenue areas suffered the brunt of the blackout.
CE Electric received reports of temporary power loss in the Dyke House area, including Easington Road, at around 8.30pm.
A CE Electric spokesman said: “A call came in at 7.55pm to make us aware our supplies had gone down. “It initially affected 1,600 customers.
“We discovered the problem was caused after someone threw a branch onto a substation.
“The problem interrupted further supplies and the amount of customers went up from 1,600 to 6,000 as we had to turn the whole of the substation off while the branch was removed.
“People shouldn’t throw things into substations, but it happens quite often.”
l Two crews from Stranton Fire Station were sent to a false alarm at Hartlepool Borough Council’s Civic Centre headquarters.
The incident happened when an alarm activated around 8.30pm and two crews spent five minutes checking the premises.
But station bosses say the incident could have been linked to the power cut.