Families in dark over power cuts

MORE than 80,000 homes were without power across East Anglia last night. Electricity network provider 24Seven received more than 387,000 calls from people who were facing a night without electricity.

MORE than 80,000 homes were without power across East Anglia.

Electricity network provider 24Seven received more than 387,000 calls from people who were facing a night without electricity.

Many homeowners were frustrated that the emergency number to report electricity supply faults was permanently engaged or that the message had not been updated enough to give them enough information on what was being done to restore power.

More than 6,000 households across west Suffolk were left without power.

The areas surrounding Bury St Edmunds and Sudbury were hardest hit. Many villages, including Acton, Great Waldingfield, Lavenham, Cockfield, Sicklesmere, Thorpe Morieux and Little Welnetham, all suffered power cuts.

In other parts of Suffolk power failures were reported across the county including in Hadleigh, Halesworth, Tunstall, Hakeston near Woodbridge, Stutton, Great Wenham and Rushmere.

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In Essex engineers were working to restore around 19,000 homes. Emergency engineers are expected to be draughted in from France on Monday to help with the additional repair work.

Geoff Laurence, who runs a general store in High Street, Gislingham, near Eye, was worried his freezers would melt before he was reconnected.

He said: "We can't get any information. It is very annoying. If I knew it was going to be long I could arrange for a generator to be delivered. They should really keep the public better informed."

Susan Robinson, 52, of Duke Street, Hintlesham, was facing a freezing night without heating after power failed at 12 noon yesterday.

The mum of two, who suffers from MS, said: "I can't put my electric bed on which helps me sleep upright and I can't use it so I probably won't sleep tonight." Her daughter Annaliese, 28, was cooking chicken and soup for the family on a log fire.

Lynda Tyler, 55, from Studio Close, Westleton, near Saxmundham, lost power just after 4.15pm and was furious at the lack of information from 24Seven.

She said: "It's disgraceful. You just can't get through. They knew this was coming, they should have had something in place to deal with this. There should have at least been a recorded message. What about all the poor older people who have no heating and nothing to cook on?"

A spokeswoman for 24Seven said that contingency plans to deal with the crisis had been in place since Saturday evening and asked customers to be patient.

She added: "We have had close liaisons with the Met Office regarding the path of the weather and have distributed our staff and resources accordingly. It case been a case of all hands to the deck to reconnect people.

"This has affected every county across our whole region (London and East Anglia) on an unprecedented scale. Rest assured that we are doing everything we can and we would ask people to bear with us."

She added that it was impossible to say when individual homes would be reconnected.

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