Power firm praised after storms

THE company responsible for providing a large proportion of Suffolk's homes and businesses with electricity has been praised for offering compensation after ferocious storms knocked out thousands of supplies.

THE company responsible for providing a large proportion of Suffolk's homes and businesses with electricity has been praised for offering compensation after ferocious storms knocked out thousands of supplies.

EDF Energy has said it would be contacting customers left without electricity for 18 hours or more to offer them a goodwill payment.

Last night, the decision to pay out as a result of the problems caused by the 70mph winds on Saturday was commended by electricity watchdog Energywatch.

Mildenhall, Worlington, Freckenham and Chippenham were among the worst areas to be hit at the weekend with 500 customers affected by a single fault.


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But homes and businesses in Glemsford, Sturmer, Wixoe, Keddington, and Steeple Bumpstead also felt the effects of the storm and were among the 7,000 throughout the East of England to lose their electricity supply.

Caroline Bowman, landlady of the Red Lion pub in Sturmer, near Haverhill, had to cancel 80 dinner reservations when the storms left her with no power.

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"The electricity went off at 3.30pm on Saturday, and did not come back on until about 11.15pm that night," she said.

"We still opened the pub for customers who just wanted a drink, but it was impossible to serve food because our kitchen relies on electricity and we certainly couldn't have our staff working in the dark.

"It was very frustrating because we are mainly a food pub and we had to turn a lot of people away so we lost a whole night of trade, although people were very understanding and most of them re-booked for another time."

Yesterday afternoon an estimated 40 homes in Suffolk were still without power, despite attempts by EDF to rectify the problems, but by 8pm last night , the firm said all customers were reconnected.

A spokeswoman said: "We have brought in contractors and also technicians from the South East region which was not affected by the storms.

"We would like to apologise to those customers who have been affected and suffered the hardship of being without power for so long.

"We will be contacting those customers who have been without power for eighteen hours or more to offer a goodwill payment."

Energywatch communications manager Alister Foye said: "It is very unusual for an electricity company to volunteer to contact customers left for a long time without their electricity supply.

"There are various rules for giving compensation and it very much depends on the circumstances or each individual case, but EDF should be commended for its attempt to offer compensation."

Winds of up to 70mph - much stronger than forecast - stretched emergency services to their limits on Saturday as trees and power cables were brought crashing to the ground, damaging homes and buildings.

A spokesperson for Suffolk County Council said: "Most problems were in the north and west of the county, with the problems ranging from damaged street lights, signs, and collapsing walls, although all main roads remain open."

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