Headland residents hit out over power surge compensation offer

Derek Harrison who had �1,500 worth of electrical goods damaged after a power surge at the Headland
Derek Harrison who had �1,500 worth of electrical goods damaged after a power surge at the Headland

RESIDENTS angered by a compensation offer from an energy giant have been boosted after an MP agreed to help fight their corner.

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

Residents say it will cost thousands of pounds to replace the items.

Northern Powergrid said it is not liable, but has offered to pay a £200 goodwill gesture to affected residents.

It means people will have to go through their insurance to recover their losses, but some are not insured.

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Hartlepool MP Iain Wright has now written to power company bosses on behalf of the residents unhappy with their treatment since a power surge wrecked their electrical appliances.

Mr Wright has written to Northern Powergrid’s chief executive expressing residents’ concerns over the security, which has since been improved, and the financial impact.

In the letter Mr Wright said: “I would ask you to review this position to ensure that constituents are more adequately reimbursed or for you to let me know whether this is your deadlock position.

“Many of my constituents have lost items worth considerably more than £200.

“Some constituents require new boilers, many have been left with numerous electrical items broken beyond repair and those with insurance are reluctant to make a claim that will lead to increased premiums.”

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

Mr Harrison said: “Northern Powergrid is adamant it is not liable.

“They are telling us we should have been insured but this should never have happened.”

He said concerns have been raised about the security before the incident, and also queried whether measures were in place to prevent it happening.

Mr Harrison, a retired fisherman, added: “I think they should be more responsible.

“We feel we have been treated very badly and just pushed to one side.”

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

Not every home was affected, but in Mr Harrison’s house the lights flickered before the electricity went off at 10pm.

It didn’t come back on until 11am the next day.

Labour councillor Jim Ainslie, who represents the Headland and Harbour ward, said: “The ward councillors are fully supportive of the residents and we will do all we can to help.”

PCSO Alan Wildsmith, of the North Neighbourhood Police Team, said: “Police have been working closely with residents over the matter of the sub station and other policing matters.

“We always encourage the community to come forward with any specific concerns so that we can act upon them, in partnership with other agencies where appropriate.

“In this case we have been in frequent correspondence with the power company and have jointly taken steps to improve security in and around the substation.

“I would encourage anyone with information on the theft of cable from March or any other incident to contact police.”

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

The next residents’ meeting is due to take place at 6pm on Wednesday, May 30, at the Headland Social Club.