Disabled woman and son left without electricity and heat for more than a week

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The outage in Wirral, Merseyside, was reported by SP Energy, a firm involved in work in the area, but homes were still without power three hours later after the problem had been reportedly repaired

Patricia Stephens and her son Chris Higgs
Patricia Stephens and her son Chris Higgs

A woman and her son who have severe disabilities were left without electricity and heat for more than a week.

Pensioner Patricia Stephens and her two sons Chris and William suffered a major power cut which also disrupted other houses in the area.

Many homes in Wirral, Merseyside, were left without electricity and heating for a number of hours.

The outage was reported by SP Energy which was involved in work in the area.

But homes were still without power three hours later than the problem had reportedly been fixed.

Patricia’s son William, 45, told the Liverpool Echo : “SP Energy reported a power cut in the area which they’d caused after they were doing works up the road.

Pensioner Patricia Stephen and her two sons Chris and William were left without heating
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Construction Photography/Avalon/Getty Images)

“Around three hours later they said it had been repaired.”

The power cut was logged on the Scottish Power website on the day and has since been marked as “restored”.

The family waited for the electricity to return after being told everything was back to normal, however besides the “odd minute” it would come back on, they were left in the “freezing cold” with no heating, and left in darkness with no electricity .

William said this presented significant problems for his brother Chris, 43, who has tunnel vision.

As Patricia, 64, and Chris are considered “clinically vulnerable”, the property’s housing association, Magenta Living, eventually provided the two with one hotel room between them after 24 hours without electricity

William said while they were in the hotel on Wednesday night, Magenta had told them they would come out and sort the issue, but they were frustrated to find the house was still freezing cold and with no electricity.

He added: “They were put up [in the hotel] on Wednesday which mum had to fight with the housing to get. I think that’s the least they could have done.

“She was in the house freezing cold with no heat and couldn’t even boil the kettle.

“They said somebody would be out that morning but it was exactly the same.

“Ever since then, mum hasn’t had electric.”

William explained as well as tunnel vision, his brother Chris suffers from cerebral palsy and epilepsy which means without electricity their home is “unsafe for the both of them”.

Patricia suffers from COPD and says she has experienced heightened problems with her breathing since the power cut last week and the stress of the ongoing events has even caused her to have panic attacks.

William said: “My brother has tunnel vision so he can’t see without some form of illumination. Obviously with no electricity and no light it is unsafe for them both to be in the house.

“My mum is elderly and disabled and she is being pulled from pillar to post.

“The stress, anxiety and pain this is causing by not knowing where she is sleeping tonight. Is it a hotel? Is it her own bed? It’s stressful, it’s painful.”

Patricia’s stay in the hotel extended to five nights, with Patricia, William and Chris only being allowed to return home on Monday.

However, William still feels their home is currently “unfit” for them to live in and feels nobody is helping the family.

He said he has reached out to both Scottish Power and Magenta several times in a desperate bid to get the issue resolved.

Magenta Living has since been out to the property, but William said the problem has not been resolved and the family continues to face challenges with both Magenta and Scottish Power in reaching a conclusion of who is responsible.

William added: “ScottishPower has said it’s not their problem, the housing association said they’ve done all they can and it’s no longer their problem – no one will fix it. No one will take responsibility.

“She is still without power (Friday, January 28). It’s not the power into the house – SP Energy.

“It’s not the meter or the isolator – British Gas and it’s not the consumer board or wiring which is Magenta?

“My mum is an elderly woman whose disabled, she needs electricity.

“We’re in limbo now. We don’t know what else to do. It’s the 21st century, you can’t go without electricity in your home.”

In response to the claims, a spokesperson for Magenta Living said: “After being made aware that the electrics at one of our properties in Bebington kept going off, Magenta Living arranged for a taxi to relocate the family to a hotel over the weekend.

Pensioner Patricia Stephen faced a major power cut leaving her home perishing
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Getty Images/iStockphoto)

“Our electricians attended the property on Monday (January 24) to carry out a full electrical installation test.

“No electrical faults were identified with the domestic wiring system which is the sole responsibility of Magenta Living.

“British Gas, the customer’s main electrical supplier, also attended the property [on Monday] and we understand that they replaced the isolator switch.

“Magenta Living will monitor the situation at the property closely and will continue to liaise with the family.”

A spokesperson for SP Energy Networks said: “Following a call into our call center, our engineers attended the property last week to investigate the customer’s concerns.

“A fault was found internally with the wiring which is the responsibility of the housing association to resolve.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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