Friday, December 3, 2010

Ivor itch: How a bull with urge to scratch himself on telegraph pole plunged villages into darkness


Disruptive bull: Ivor the five-year-old bull that caused the power cuts near the village on Saunton, Devon, by rubbing himself against a telegraph pole

He certainly looks like a powerful beast, even when he’s not at full charge.
This 2,000lb bull cast a shadow over 500 homes by scratching his rump on a small electricity pylon.

Three remote villages were left without power, suffering regular blackouts as the animal kept disconnecting them from the National Grid.

Residents of Saunton, Croyde and Georgeham, on the north Devon coast, were sporadically plunged into darkness for hours.

The field at Saunton where power company workers saw the bull rubbing himself against the wire stays

The source of the problem baffled power company chiefs until engineers spotted five-year-old Ivor in action after a four-day search involving a helicopter, electronic pathfinder equipment and a team of engineers on foot.

An investigation revealed a steel pole supporting the pylon near Saunton Golf Club had been left ‘shiny’ from where the animal had been rubbing against it. The contact made a pole wobble causing internal wires to hit together, breaking the circuit.

The bull rubbed himself against these wire stays. In doing so he iis thought to have triggered automatic circuit breakers that caused the power cuts

Western Power Distribution spokesman Irene Evans said: ‘It was quite a hefty animal and had caused some damage. We think he’d been busy for a while.’

Georgeham and Mortehoe parish councillor Pat Barker said the villages were not on the mains gas supply and residents relied on their electricity supply more than most.

‘One Sunday we had a power cut that lasted for eight or nine hours,’ she said. ‘We’re out on a limb and, without power, things can get pretty bad. One night I had to cook dinner on an open fire.’

Betty Wickins, 79, who lives in Croyde, said: ‘We have a lot of power cuts round here, but they got especially bad a few weeks ago – there were three in one morning.

'It’s very difficult to keep warm at this time of the year as it is.’

Once they’d discovered the problem, engineers had to shut down the power manually to make emergency repairs and put up fencing around the pylon.

The bull’s owner, Roland Dibble, 82, of Warren Farm in Saunton, said: ‘I was pretty stunned when I saw half a dozen vans on my land investigating the power cuts.
‘I assumed it had been the bad weather causing blackouts.’

Protection: The pole has now had a wooden fence built around it to protect it from further bull antics

source: dailymail

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