Polegate residents left with no power after lightning strike causes ‘catastrophic damage’

A number of houses including residents with care alarm systems have been left with no broadband or telephone lines for days following damage by lightning.

Graham Popham, who lives in Brightling Road, said lightning struck the telegraph pole outside his home on the night of June 16, causing damage to the broadband and telephone lines for eight houses.

Graham said on June 17 he called his provider Sky who told him they had opened the case with Openreach – the company in charge of maintaining the telephone lines for nearly all homes and businesses in the UK.

Sign up to our daily SussexWorld Today newsletter

Despite this, residents say they’ve heard nothing from Openreach.

Brightling Road, Polegate. Photo from Google Maps. SUS-210629-145039001

Graham said two of the affected residents have Careline alarms in their homes – an alarm that plugs into the telephone line so elderly people can get help quickly from a 24-hour care team.

Without this alarm connected, the residents are left vulnerable and isolated.

He said, “This is not on. Not only that, it’s costing a fortune in mobile data.”

An Openreach spokesperson said, “Our telegraph pole in Polegate was struck by lightning on June 16 causing catastrophic damage to the nearby infrastructure.

“We understand how frustrating this must be for anyone affected – lightning strikes wreak havoc on our network and in most cases, it’s not just a matter of repairing our infrastructure, it has to be replaced.

“Our engineers attended shortly after the lightning strike and made the area safe, but new duct needs to be laid in order to house the replacement cable.

“Our contractors will be on site tomorrow (Thursday, July 1) to replace the duct then our engineers will replace the cable on Friday.

“We understand how frustrating this must be for anyone is affected and remind anyone experiencing any disruption with their phone or broadband service that it’s essential they report it to their service provider who will then inform us.”