Bosses to meet residents

Coun Jim Ainslie
Coun Jim Ainslie

BOSSES at an energy giant are finally set to meet with residents angered by a compensation offer after a power surge struck their homes.

Around 50 houses on the Headland were hit when the theft of wiring at the Wells Street sub-station blew any electrical items that were plugged in.

Residents were left angered by the offer of £200 compensation from Northern Powergrid, because they say it will cost thousands to replace the items.

The energy giant said it was not liable but offered the payment as a goodwill gesture.

Hartlepool MP Iain Wright agreed to fight the residents’ corner and speaking at a recent residents’ meeting at the Headland Social Club revealed they had agreed to attend a public meeting.

That is expected to take place on a Friday teatime later this month at the Borough Hall, with the exact time and date yet to be confirmed.

Community leaders say it is a step in the right direction.

Mr Wright attended the meeting alongside Labour councillors for the Headland and Harbour ward, Robbie Payne, Peter Jackson and Jim Ainslie.

Coun Ainslie said: “This is a positive step forward and people are very keen to resolve this issue.

“We are hopeful the public meeting will be arranged for later this month to give people, their customers, the chance to air their grievances.

“We have requested that residents write their questions down before the meeting so it can be structured and constructive as possible.

“People want to be reassured.”

Questions can be submitted through the letterbox of the Parish Council buildings, in Middlegate, on the Headland.

Coun Ainslie added that representatives from the energy giant could also meet residents on a one to one basis before the public meeting.

One of those affected was Derek Harrison, 67, of Northgate, who suffered £1,500 worth of damage including to his washing machine, microwave, LED 32” television, DVD recorder, laptop and stereo.

Mr Harrison, a retired fisherman, added: “We feel we have been treated very badly and just pushed to one side.”

Power company bosses have previously said they understand the disruption and damage caused by the metal thieves – but say no liability rests with them.

A Northern Powergrid spokesman has previously told the Mail: “We want to reassure our customers that we understand the disruption and damage caused by this incident of metal theft from our Hartlepool Throston substation.

“We do believe we have a moral obligation to support our customers during this difficult time despite the fact that the damage is due to third party interference and no liability rests with us.

“We are always happy to meet with residents to explain this in more detail.”

The power surge happened on March 25 at around 8pm after the metal theft at the Throston sub-station, which supplies about 500 homes.

Information can be provided to Hartlepool Police on 101, and passed anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.