It’s hard to believe that the power failure we all experienced – some for almost 17 hours – was over two weeks ago now, but time flies as fast as it ever did even here in Keevil.
Many villagers kept up to speed with what was happening via our village Facebook group , which did a great job of providing a real-time message board for updates. Most of us, however, will have had no idea just how much effort was being put in behind the scenes, and a key part of that was our Emergency Co-ordinators, Dave Bouault and Paul Lenaerts.
Below Dave offers his reflections on some of the frustrations felt during the power cut, and how we might move forward with SSE in the event of any future incidents. Both Paul and Dave realised during the incident that they need mobile numbers for our vulnerable residents so that they don’t have to rely on landlines (many of which went off with the power outage) – and are working rapidly to plug that gap!
- The village had an agreement with SSE that those on the village ‘vulnerable’ list would be contacted and visited by SSE if the cut was prolonged. Unfortunately SSE ignored the list.
- Those who had registered on SSE’s Priority Service were not all contacted or seen.
- The centre in Portsmouth (not Melksham) took control of operations and failed to direct help to some vulnerable residents.
- There were problems with the manoeuvrability and location of the generators sent despite efforts to help by some of our farmers. If we had known the power cut was going on so long, the village has four generators which could have been employed.
- Thanks must go to Melanie Grace, the SSE customer and community advisor, for solving a real emergency in Martins Lane and helping a small number with hot water and coffee.
- Melanie’s advice – despite the above (and she is well aware of our concerns) – is for those who consider themselves vulnerable to register for the Priority Service, despite its patchy effect on this occasion.
- David Bouault has application forms and is willing to drop one off when he is walking around the village, or you can phone free to SSE: 0800 294 3259.
- Compensation of £75 should be with those cut off for more than 12 hours, and should hopefully arrive by cheque.
Any questions or concerns, contact Dave Bouault (Keevil Emergency Volunteer) on 01380 870545 or email firstname.lastname@example.org