People left without heating for days as temperatures plunge
Homes across Cranbrook have been left without heating for almost a week as freezing cold temperatures take hold. The town is supplied with communal district heating by energy provider E.on – but many homes have been left without heating for around five days.
Mary Stenson www.devonlive.com
Residents say that E.on, which supplies the entire town with heating, with no alternative available for residents, have told them the issue is in the process of being resolved. But the company has reportedly not offered those affected with alternative methods of heating in the meantime.
MP for the area Simon Jupp has urged the energy giants to resolve the issue immediately. He wrote an open letter to E.on’s Chief Executive Michael Lewis, in which he slammed their response to the ongoing issue as “woefully inadequate”.
An E.ON spokesperson said that they were aware of a number of customers in Cranbrook reporting issues with their heating and hot water supplies. They said it was not an issue with the network itself, the priority was to return heat to customers, and they apologised for any inconvenience caused.
Affected residents have said that they have been forced to stay with friends and family as it has been too cold to stay in their homes. Some have been forced to use fan heaters to keep warm.
One resident, Faye Thompson, has said she has been taking her children out for the day and been staying with relatives and friends as it is too cold to sleep in the house. She explained that the family has had no heating for five days and, only today has had the heating fixed.
Faye said: “I live in Cranbrook and, along with several others, I’ve had no heating for five days now. I’ve phoned eon multiple times and been told they’re working on it. I’ve asked for electric heaters to be supplied but this is not forthcoming.
“Sunday was the third night I’ve had to take my children out for the day. Friends and relatives are putting us up overnight because I can no longer sleep at home. I’ve received absolutely no communication, despite being told text messages have been sent to customers.
“The situation is completely unacceptable. They told me on Thursday that it was a site issue. (We have communal district heating). I was then told it was an individual on Friday. I’m getting different information every time I speak to someone. I am so frustrated with the whole situation and this cannot continue.”
Faye said that on Monday her heating had been fixed. But she went on to say: “It was eight degrees in my property today and I should work from home. Thankfully they attended late in the morning and it’s now been fixed. I’m so frustrated that this could have been resolved last week.”
Another resident, Julian Bennellick, who has lived in Cranbrook with his wife and daughter for over six years and is having heating issues for the first time. The household’s heating has been off since Thursday and they are now using fan heaters.
After explaining to an operator over the phone on Friday, December 9, that the radiators did not need bleeding and that he believed it was a problem with the heat exchanger, Julian was told an engineer would be sent out to his home today (Monday, December 12).
Julian said: “I’ve taken the day off work. We’ve been running a fan heater all weekend, just to keep one room warm which obviously impacts us because we’re paying for more electricity.
“It’s obviously impacting a lot of people. I think the main thing is that we’re tied into E.on so we can’t even get a third party plumber out. My wife’s a nurse for the NHS and she’s done a night shift and had to come back to a freezing cold home.”
There have been further comments made by others living in Cranbrook on social media, with some claiming that even those on the “priority list” have been told they may have to wait six to eight hours for an engineer. It is unknown if any of the homes affected by this particular issue have had their heating resolved.
Cranbrook is part of a ‘district heating scheme’, meaning they are all heated by an energy centre, rather than a boiler, located half a mile away which can only be run by one supplier, which is currently E.on. All 2,000 homes are signed up to E.on under an agreement which is in place until 2090.
East Devon MP Simon Jupp has also now called on E.on to resolve the issue promptly and offer compensation after he received multiple complaints from Cranbrook households over the course of the last week. The Conservative wrote an open letter to E.on’s Chief Executive Michael Lewis, in which he slammed the energy provider’s response to the ongoing issue as “woefully inadequate”.
In the letter, Mr Jupp asked: “I would like to request that you make every effort to sort this mess out as an urgent priority given cold temperatures are forecast to continue this week; and provide affected households with compensation.
“Your services and basic communication about this matter have fallen far short of what is acceptable. Cranbrook residents deserve so much better.”
My open letter to @EONEnergyUK after many residents in #Cranbrook continue to struggle without heating.
E.ON must step up, urgently reconnect customers & compensate everyone left without heating during this bitterly cold snap.
He Tweeted the letter, stating: “My open letter to @eonenergyuk after many residents in #Cranbrook continue to struggle without heating. E.ON must step up, urgently reconnect customers & compensate everyone left without heating during this bitterly cold snap.”
An E.ON spokesperson said: “We are aware of a number of customers in Cranbrook reporting issues with their heating and hot water supplies. This is not an issue with the network itself, the problem stems from an issue with valves in the heat interface units in some customer homes, and this disrupts the hot water flow from the network into individual properties.
“Our priority is to return heat to customers as quickly as possible and engineers have been working around the clock to visit customers and reset or replace valves that have failed. We are prioritising vulnerable customers and redeploying engineers from other E.ON sites in support.
“We apologise to customers and we’re making portable heaters available for their use while our engineers complete the works. All affected customers will be given compensation as part of our service guarantees.”