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Friday, 1 November, 2002, 12:58 GMT
Six days without power
A gust catches an umbrella in London
The storms hit last Sunday but some electricity is still off
Thousands of householders in England are entering their sixth day without electricity.

BBC News Online gauges their reaction to the insistence by electricity companies that they may not pay out compensation because the power failures were caused by "an act of God".

Christine Kilsby's asthmatic son should be kept in a warm environment but for five days the family's house in Gloucester was without heating.

Mrs Kilsby, 41, says she is lucky to have been able to take the four-year-old to his grandmother's but had she known it would take so long to restore power to her home, she would have done it sooner.

"I think the lack of information is what has annoyed me most," she said.

The Kilsbys' home in the village of Adlestrop was one of thousands affected by last weekend's storm.


How can they say they are not liable when they clearly couldn't cope with the aftermath of the storm?

Christine Kilsby
Resident

The electricity supply to the Kilsbys' was switched back on on Thursday night, but not before Mrs Kilsby had had to take two days off work to look after her child and sort out VAT returns which were lost when her computer went down at home.

Industry watchdog Energywatch says customers are entitled to 50 compensation from companies once they have been without power for 18 hours.

For each 12-hour period they remain without power after that, they can claim a further 25.

That would mean the Kilsbys would be entitled to at least 225.

Compensation

"That won't even cover what I have to chuck away from the freezer," Mrs Kilsby said.

"How can they say they are not liable when they clearly couldn't cope with the aftermath of the storm?

"If they hadn't scrimped so much on the general maintenance of the system, this wouldn't have happened."

The electricity companies' inability to keep their customers informed over the last week has also infuriated Barbara Worland.


We have to cook everything - even a cup of tea - on a camping stove

Barbara Worland

The 52-year-old's home in Hardwick, south Cambridgeshire, is still cut off.

"Every time you ring, you get a recorded message and when you finally get through they pass you around," she said.

"I've had to wait in every day just in case they turned up to fix the power.

"We have to cook everything - even a cup of tea - on a camping stove.

"I think we've been quite patient but the electricity companies were clearly not prepared and I think we are entitled to some compensation.

"How would they like to have no hot water or cooking facilities for a week?"

See also:

31 Oct 02 | UK
31 Oct 02 | England
31 Oct 02 | Europe
28 Oct 02 | Business
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