Hillingdon Police closed a 40 metre section of Long Lane, in Hillingdon, at around 5.35pm on Monday, July 28, and called London Fire Brigade for help.
The fire brigade, fresh from tackling floods and two house fires , sent a crew from Hillingdon and by the time they arrived at 5.40pm the smoke had turned into flames, worryingly flowing from an electrical cable cover.
Electricity company Southern Electric owned a link box - which holds all of its electrical cables - which had caught fire in the manhole.
Engineers from the company arrived in the road at 6.15pm and immediately turned off the power in the street - and to several houses nearby.
"Although the fire brigade were on hand they were not needed because we had stopped the smoke when we turned off the power and made sure there was no risk to anyone in the area," a spokesman for Southern Electric said.
"It is hard to give an exact number but around 70 customers in the road were cut off originally."
Many people had their power restored after a short period, but around 20 homes had no electricity until just after 3am this morning, Tuesday, July 29.
"Because of the time of the day we brought along one of our catering vans and provided hot food and drinks and glow-sticks so that people could move about in their homes in the dark.
"One of the customers even brought tea and biscuits out to our engineers as they were working last night," the spokesman said.
The cause of the electric fault is being investigated and is not yet known but the spokesman said it was possible that the heavy rain and flooding earlier in the day may have affected the link box.
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