Cable failures of all kinds over the past few days – a BT failure on Saturday meant three internet-free days at 853 towers and a reminder to find an alternative telecommunications provider which doesn’t depend on Openreach, the outfit for whom even the simplest phone call to say “we’re working on it” is just too much bother.
But worse was to hit you if you lived anywhere east of Welling – a fire on a cable bridge in Dartford meant a total blackout of many of south-east London’s outer suburbs from lunchtime on Monday, stretching out well into Kent. I’m told it was pretty damn obvious where in Welling where the cut kicked in – I was tempted to go the top of Shooters Hill after sunset to try to photograph the dark swathe that’d cut across a huge chunk of the area. It was reported that the cut could last 36 hours or more,
but supplies are now being restored with supplies currently operating on a rota basis.
Clearly big news for a big chunk of London. But how did the capital’s media report it? New blog Bexcentric takes up the story…
The total loss of power across almost an entire London borough for even a whole afternoon (let alone over a day, as it now looks like being) would, you might expect, warrant fairly excitable coverage from the capital’s media. BBC London dispatched a reporter live to the scene – well, up the road from the actual scene – of the Soho fire recently, and that hadn’t actually directly affected all that many people. And the fire and vandalism angle (did I mention that? EDF did) adds a nice bit of intrigue and crime for, say, the Evening Standard to get its teeth into.
But what did lucky, electricity-enjoying viewers of BBC London’s 18.30 TV bulletin see about this incident? Nothing at all. Not a mention. And a search on the Standard’s web site for ‘power cut’ still yields no results dated today. It appears it’s not just the national grid we’re cut off from: as far as the London-wide media are concerned, Bexley’s just not worth the train fare from Charing Cross. (more)
Later, BBC London’s web team covered the story… and as I write it’s the 12th most important story on its index, just below the startling revelation that “Winston Churchill was furious his wartime bunker was not bomb-proof but continued to stay during the Blitz”. (It’s third on the Kent index.)
(12.05PM UPDATE – the story is now BBC London’s website lead. The story also now appears on the Standard’s website, with a load of comments from idiots below.)\