Search

MP wants blackout inquiry

PUBLISHED: 11:16 06 August 2009 | UPDATED: 17:00 25 August 2010

PUBLIC MEETING: The public meeting at St Martin’s Church, Barnehurst,

PUBLIC MEETING: The public meeting at St Martin’s Church, Barnehurst,

AN MP is demanding an investigation at the highest level into the handling of a power blackout that saw nearly 100,000 people without electricity for up to three days. David Evennett, MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford, has written to Secretary of State for

AN MP is demanding an investigation at the highest level into the handling of a power blackout that saw nearly 100,000 people without electricity for up to three days.

David Evennett, MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford, has written to Secretary of State for Business, Lord Mandelson and chiefs at energy regulator Ofgem over EDF Energy's response to the blackout in Dartford and Bexley boroughs last week.

Vital cables on a bridge are believed to have been targeted by saboteurs, causing the power supply to collapse without warning.

Bosses from EDF braved the wrath of residents at a public meeting at St Martin's Church, Barnehurst, last Wednesday, who slammed the company's handling of the incident.

Ofgem has ruled the incident as "exceptional circumstances," limiting EDF's responsibility for compensation, which has instead offered some customers a £50 "goodwill gesture".

Mr Evennett said: "I'm very concerned about what is classed as exceptional. People are out of pocket to the tune of hundreds of pounds. The payments issue needs serious consideration. The security at this site was not sufficient and I want an urgent review of security to ensure vital parts of the power network are protected.

"There are many unanswered questions and we are determined to find those answers."

The true scale of the power cut emerged as angry residents told the panel about elderly relatives stuck in tower blocks with no running water and rotting food in fridges.

Natalie Shaw, 31, of Lincoln Road, Slade Green, said: "We felt like the lights had been turned off and nobody cared about us.

"There was no information about how serious the situation was so we didn't know how long there would be no power.

"My great-uncle is 87, he had no water because the water pump to his flat had no power. He had no matches, no candles. The Red Cross gave him four bottles of water and a pint of milk."

EDF Director of Operations Bob Lane said it could not guarantee power 365 days a year and revealed that saboteurs broke padlocks to the Dartford site with "hammers and chisels."

James Cleverly, London Assembly member for Bexley and Bromley, said it was unacceptable for nearly 100,000 people to be "held to ransom" by a single act of vandalism.

He said: "It's unacceptable with the threat of terrorism that so many residents and businesses are reliant on one pinch point in the network.

"EDF measures its profits in billions of pounds. I want to see greater reliability and two-stream back up built into the network."

Mr Lane said it was not feasible to have a dual network in place and that it would be impossible to fully protect over 140,000 miles of electric cables.

Slade Green residents were among the last to receive continuous power, many received three hour boosts during the middle of the night, described by Mr Cleverly as a "rather smart way of making sure there was not a continuous break of 24 hours."

Only those who did not receive power for 24 hours would be eligible for a £50 gesture.

EDF used more than 90 mobile generators and they said power was allocated on information they had about more vulnerable customers.

Customer relations manager Mary Preece urged vulnerable residents to notify them so they can be put on a priority list in the event of another blackout.

Rosanna Currans has drafted a letter for those who wish to complain further to EDF in North Ken and Bexley. To contact her, call 01322 291979.

0 comments

Latest Bexley news

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

People who live, work and travel across Kent, Thurrock, Essex and beyond are being invited to shape plans for Britain’s biggest road tunnel as Highways England hostrf the first of 60 public engagement events on the multi-billion pound Lower Thames Crossing project this week (Tuesday 16 October).

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

“Devastating” plans for a house of multiple occupancy in Sidcup have been approved despite pleas by residents.

Monday, October 15, 2018

The pub industry in Bexley, worth around £51million, could take a hit if beer duty is raised as expected in the chancellor’s budget today (Tuesday, October 16), Britain’s Beer Alliance has warned.

Monday, October 15, 2018

A cyclist who died after being hit by a lorry in Erith has been formally identified, as police officers appeal for witnesses to the tragic incident to come forward.

Monday, October 15, 2018

New proposals for Hall Place and Gardens will be discussed in next week’s Places Overview and Scrutiny Committee (October 16).

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Wondering what the weather has in store for us this weekend? Watch our Met Office video forecast.

Friday, October 12, 2018

The new UK and Ireland tour of Let It Be will be arriving at the Orchard Theatre on Monday, October 15.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

A number of warrants have been executed this morning (Wednesday, October 10) in Abbey Wood as part of a proactive operation targeting drugs and associated criminality.

Most read news

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Bexley Times e-edition today
E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Bexley Times twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Show Job Lists

Family Notices 24