A POWER cut in Wantage was sparked by an underground fault that caused smoke to spew from a manhole.

Residents in 1,000 homes lost electricity at about 3pm yesterday, and endured a gloomy evening while engineers worked to fix the problem.

The OX12 power outage was initially not expected to be fixed until 10pm, but all power had been restored by 8.13pm. 

Today Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks revealed that the shortage was caused by a problem beneath Ham Road in Wantage.

A passer-by was concerned to see smoke burbling from a manhole cover in the road, and called the fire brigade. 

Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue spokesman Paul Smith said one crew was sent out at 3.44pm and notified SSEN. 

Alexis Hall, a spokeswoman for the energy provider, said: “Sometimes faults can give off smoke, which can look a bit alarming. Safety is our highest priority.

“Everyone was very patient which we appreciate. We apologise to customers and thank them.” 

She could not expand on what exactly the underground fault was.