We have known that the electricity network has been at breaking poinbt for years, but we didn't realise it was actually blowing up the paths
The Health and Safety Executive, a UK public body that oversees safety in the workplace, has ordered UK Power Networks, which runs the power network for London, to carry out a major inspection program in the London area -- and "find long-term solutions" to the problem.
At least five people have suffered injuries in pavement explosions, according to information compiled by government officials since January 2012.
Three women were injured in a blast in central Edgware Road just over a year ago. One, age 55, had 20% of her body burned and was said to have suffered "life-changing" injuries, London's Evening Standard newspaper reported at the time. The other two also suffered burns.
Another woman suffered whiplash injuries a month later when a cable box blew up in north London.
In November, a cyclist who was knocked off her bike after a cable pit exploded to the west of the city was reportedly taken to a hospital, but no details of her injuries were given.
Asked about instances of exploding pavements UK Power Networks said there had been "relatively few cases" where its network has failed or developed a fault.
It has about 100,000 boxes and 36,000 kilometers (22,369 miles) of cables under the city's streets.
"We regularly inspect, maintain and reinforce our network to ensure that London maintains its position as the most reliable electricity network in Britain," the company said in a statement.
"Underground equipment can always develop a fault, but most of the time it has no external impact.
Some events have involved gas or third party damage and were not necessarily just caused by an electrical fault."
UK Power Networks said it was sending teams out to inspect thousands of cable boxes and pits each year and investing tens of millions of dollars over the next several years to ensure they are safe.
The Health and Safety Executive said it had been informed of about 45 incidents involving boxes or cable pits owned by UK Power Networks since August of last year.
Not all of them caused an explosion, it said.
In some cases, passers-by have seen smoke or flames come out of a manhole cover or from link boxes in the pavement, according to the UK government reports.
In other instances, the cover for a cable pit has been blown off, damaging nearby cars or buildings.
UK Power Networks distributes more than a quarter of the United Kingdom's electricity, serving about 8 million customers in London, the southeast and east of England.
It is owned by the Cheung Kong Group, a Hong Kong-based multinational conglomerate. It also operates electricity distribution businesses in Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand.
expect more failures, especially in the city if the weather gets warmer and the Aircon gets cranked up