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Power cut repair lasted just two hours ruining festive meals in Bishopstoke
CHRISTMAS lunch was ruined for families on a storm-hit Hampshire road when electricity cruelly came on for just two hours.
Food that had bee Thousands of Hampshire homes have been without power over Christmas due to the flooding and ferocious storms that have lashed the county in recent days.
Their joy was short-lived though, and just two hours later it was off again, with some reporting how their half-cooked Christmas dinners had to be chucked away. The blackout has remained ever since, and electricity bosses have apologised.
Anne-Marie Buckingham, of Stoke Common Road, Bishopstoke, said: “It’s just been the most rubbish Christmas. We were going to celebrate Christmas Day here but it’s been so cold and we only have a coal fire to keep us warm so we have been living in our lounge.
“At 9am on Christmas Day we just gave up and went to my brother’s place in Woolston. No one wants to be uprooted on Christmas Day and I have two teenage daughters who don’t understand why we can’t get the power back.
“We can’t even have showers and we’ve been lucky that one of our neighbours has kindly let us use theirs. I’ve been taking my washing to my in-laws too; this has just completely messed up everything.”
Meanwhile neighbours Richard and Linda Webster (below) saw their Christmas lamb go to waste after rushing to get it ready when the power briefly came back on.
Mr Webster said: “It was such a big waste. We still have gas hobs so we ended up trading lamb for mashed potato and ham. We had my sister Janice round and we managed to all have a laugh eating dinner by candlelight, but it’s completely disrupted Christmas.”
Ridiculous To make matters worse, the majority of homes in the road have still got power, leading the unlucky few to question why they have been affected.
Mr Webster, 70, a retired carpenter said: “I just don’t understand why it’s only a few houses without power. It doesn’t make any sense and we don’t even know if Southern Electric (SSE) is aware our power is down. It’s just ridiculous.
“If we were all off then fine, but we are not, and there are even streetlights still on. It’s this uncertainty that is the worst thing. Why us and when are we getting power back?”
Neighbour Robin Meadham (above) said he had been kept on hold for an hour and 20 minutes after calling SSE only to be told he would have to wait for an automated update.
Mr Meadham, 52, a structural engineer, said: “There must be some sort of system to an electrical grid that means you don’t have some houses off and some on. There’s no logic to it.
“It’s just not fair. My Christmas dinner was ruined after the power went on and off and I had to throw some roast beef away. There is just no rhyme or reason when you can have power for two-and-a-half hours and then lose it again.”
He added: “I rang them to make sure they knew we were in this situation and I get told to wait for an update. Where is their duty of care? They told me to email them but how am I supposed to do that?”
The houses affected are among the 1,500 or so properties that remained without power last night across the county – including 135 homes in the New Forest.
An SSE spokesman apologised for the loss of supply and said engineers had “worked tirelessly throughout the Christmas period” to reconnect electricity.
The spokesman said: “We’ve done all we could to keep waiting times down during this time, including drafting extra staff into our call centres and posting regular updates on our website and social media. However, unfortunately the lines have been very busy and waiting times have been much higher than usual.
“We know this can be frustrating and are very grateful to customers for their patience.”
He added: “The way the electricity distribution network is made up means that faults can be isolated and power redirected via other routes to minimise the number of homes affected by power cuts.
“This can mean some homes have their power on while others on the same street do not.
“While the only way to restore supplies for everyone is to find and fix the fault, this does enable us to keep power on for a much higher number of customers than would otherwise be the case.”
SSE is also offering to reimburse customers for the cost of a hot meal while their power is out.
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