Rare fault cut electricity and gas to Harborough homes on Christmas Day

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It was a blackout Christmas for dozens of homes in Market Harborough, which lost all power for up to nine hours on Christmas Day.

Local people told the Mail about opening presents by candlelight, cooking on a camping stove and finally eating their Christmas lunch at about 8.30pm in the evening.

The problem affected dozens of homes centred on Tungstone Way and Hurlingham Road in the south of the town.

Surrounding streets like Haddonian Road were less seriously affected, residents told the Mail.

The problem centred on faulty electricity cables and gas pipes on Hurlingham Road.

About a dozen workmen were on site for much of Christmas Day, from around 5.30am, being fed sandwiches and mince pies by sympathetic local people.

The power problems had begun in many homes in the area on Christmas Eve into early Christmas morning, with the power going off for up to two hours at a time.

One Hurlingham Road resident spoke of “street lights literally flickering, as if aliens had landed”.

Then, when dozens of households woke up on Christmas Day, everything was off – lights, heat and gas. The power had gone off by 5.45am, and didn’t come back on until at least 2.36pm.

“We were told we’d get a generator by mid-morning, but that never materialised” said Victoria Lacey. “The kids had sandwiches for lunch.”

“We cooked bacon sandwiches on our camping stove” said Ady White. “We put the turkey in the freezer – it’s still there.”

“We were opening presents by candlelight” said Louisa Greer. “It was like going back in time!”

“We had the cheese and biscuits for lunch” said Hannah Watts. “You just got on with it. It made Christmas Day a bit different!”

“We were told a faulty electricity cable blew a hole in the gas pipe” one resident said. “There was certainly a smell of gas in the street.”

Louise Birkett from Western Power Distribution, which operates the electricity power network, said: “It was a fault in an underground cable in our low voltage network.

“Unusually – and this is very rare – the fault affected a neighbouring gas pipe, and there was a gas leak too. Around 60 homes were affected.

“Obviously we want to apologise to everyone who was affected by these problems, especially because they impacted on many local people’s Christmas Day celebrations.”