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Energy company apologises after homes are left in the dark

PUBLISHED: 14:17 20 November 2008 | UPDATED: 15:37 07 September 2010

BLACKOUT misery has hit Hampstead homes and businesses in South Hill Park. People living in the area – some of whom are elderly and frail – have resorted to candles and torchlight, while traders have lost hundreds of pounds from the power cuts. Three blac

BLACKOUT misery has hit Hampstead homes and businesses in South Hill Park.

People living in the area - some of whom are elderly and frail - have resorted to candles and torchlight, while traders have lost hundreds of pounds from the power cuts.

Three blackouts have hit the area in three weeks and provider EDF Energy Networks this week apologised for the power failure.

The blackouts occurred on October 22, November 10 and 13, affecting up to 86 people.

Speaking of the resulting blackouts, 62-year-old resident Jennie Stoller, said: "I was really panicked. I've got an 86-year-old neighbour upstairs and I had to take her a candle. I was worried she might have an accident. It's always worrying with elderly people.

"On November 10 the power cut lasted for the whole afternoon until the night. We had to make do with candles and a torch."

Laura Romeo, 27 and who moved from Australia, said: "It was a bit of a pain, especially as it gets so dark so early here. We've got young children in the house.

"Abigail, one of the children, is afraid of the dark and was clinging to me. On November 10, the lights were out from 1.30pm to 7.30pm."

Elderly resident Shelagh Massie said: "I was having people round for dinner and had to cancel it. We had candles everywhere.

"I had no television, no radio, we were in pitch black. I felt very, very uncomfortable. "

Debbie Enright from the Network Typing Service, who with her business partner Sue Webb lost at least £500 as a result, said: "The problem is that we've let the clients down. We had told two clients that we could get them their work that afternoon, and we had to call them again to tell them they couldn't have their work.

"I had to get in at 5am the morning after the cuts to complete work to deadline. If they had warned us in advance then we could have come in at the weekend before the cuts.

"You can't get any information out of EDF. They've given us no explanation."

An EDF spokeswoman said: "EDF Energy Networks would like to sincerely apologise to customers in South Hill Park for a number of interruptions to their power supply over the last month.

"The same 86 customers have experienced three faults as a result of an intermittent fault on our low voltage underground network which has been difficult to pinpoint. This can occur when heat produced at the time of the fault reseals the cable, meaning that no permanent fault is evident.

"The fault has now been located, temporary repairs have been carried out and permanent repairs will be carried out in due course.

"The first incident happened on October 22 at 9.40am and we had to isolate supplies to 86 customers. Power was restored at 12.10pm. The fault reoccurred on November 10 at 1.30pm, damaging fuses at a substation. Supplies were restored at 7.20pm.

"The fault occurred again on November 13, affecting 13 customers at 10.52am. Engineers pinpointed the fault and had to isolate power to a further 73 customers to carry out a temporary repair. Power was restored to most customers at 4.40pm with the last two customers back on at 5.48pm.


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