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Saturday, 2 November, 2002, 16:05 GMT
Hope for power cut homes
Electricity pylons
Thousands are still without power after storms
A week after gales wreaked havoc across the UK, thousands of homes are still without power but the electricity supplier involved has pledged to re-connect them by the end of Sunday.

Power firm 24seven has been severely criticised for making slow progress in re-connecting customers.

About 3,700 homes and businesses are still without electricity as a result of storms which ripped down power lines as wind speeds reached 80 miles an hour.


I think we have performed all right, although I know people probably won't agree with that, especially if they have been off since Sunday

24seven spokesman
The electricity company says virtually all customers in East Anglia should be connected by the end of Sunday.

A 24seven spokeswoman said the worst affected area was around Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk.

But she said: "We aim to have everyone reconnected by the end of the weekend. We are working as hard as we can to do that.

"The faults we are now dealing with are mainly low voltage faults."

The company has called in engineers from France, Scotland, Manchester, Northern Ireland, the south of England and Wales, to help correct faults.

The spokeswoman defended the company's performance during the week, but accepted many customers were angry.

About 300,000 of the company's three million customers in East Anglia were affected by power failure.

More gales ahead

She said: "We have performed all right, although I know people probably won't agree with that, especially if they have been off since Sunday.

"The winds we had on Sunday were at times equal to those we had in 1987.

"Then it took two, sometimes three weeks to get power fully restored."

The company is not planning to pay compensation to any of its customers under its usual terms because last weekend's weather was exceptional.

An engineer carries out repairs
Extra engineers have been drafted in
The power industry regulator Ofgem will decide whether or not the company's decision is acceptable.

The 24seven spokesman said customers were being encouraged to write in with claims, which would all be considered.

British Power International (BPI) will carry out an investigation into the electricity industry's performance after the storms.

The BBC Weather Centre is predicting further gales over the weekend in northern Ireland and west and northern Scotland - with wind speeds reaching up to 70 miles an hour.

But they are not expected to be as severe as last weekend.

BBC forecaster Rob McKelwee said: "We are not particularly worried the winds are going to cause any damage.

"They won't be in particularly densely populated areas so they are not likely to cause too much of a problem."

No further gales are predicted for East Anglia, but it will be affected by heavy rain on Saturday.

See also:

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