VIDEO: Sparks fly after high winds bring down power cables in Westhoughton
TWO power cuts in Westhoughton lasting nearly 24 hours forced a nursery to close, leaving its owner £400 out of pocket.
Andrea Pollard, who runs Sticky Fingers nursery in Hart Common, was shocked to see that bad weather had caused dangerous sparking overhead cables to snap and fall on to Old Folds Road, on Wednesday Feburary 12, so she and a neighbour reported it to the electricity board.
By 11.20pm the road, including a total of 32 properties, were affected by a power cut until 3.50pm the next day, with the second power cut affecting homes between 6pm and 11.15pm.
Despite Ms Pollard losing a day’s trade after closing the nursery for a day, Electricity North West said it would compensate her by just £54 — leaving the grandmother-of-two £400 down after reimbursing her clients.
Ms Pollard, aged 46, said: “I couldn’t believe it when I saw the power cables sparking and jumping on the street, it was so dangerous.
“But despite alerting the electricity company at 7.20pm the power was totally off by 11pm. It didn’t come on until the next evening, meaning that I had to close the business for a day.
“Electricity North West said that it would give me £54 as a gesture of goodwill.
“But that compensation is nowhere near how much I have lost. I am fuming.”
On Thursday morning Ms Pollard had to ring the parents of the 17 children she looks after to alert them to the nursery’s closure before reimbursing the day’s rate for each child.
She said: “The parents all had to make alternative arrangements for their children and I have to reimburse them the day’s rate, which adds up to £453, but the electricity board should be footing the bill, not me.
“They say that they don’t cover for loss of earnings or food which has perished and I should claim on house insurance — but I can’t afford my premiums to go up. I’m so angry — and I know I’m not the only business that suffered around here.”
Lee Maxwell, area manager for Electricity North West, said: “I apologise to customers in Westhoughton who experienced a power outage.
“The severe weather damaged the overhead power lines nearby and our engineers worked around the clock in very difficult conditions to restore supplies to 32 customers as quickly as possible.
“Standard payments for compensation are set nationally and we have contacted the owner of the nursery and offered compensation and again apologised for the disruption caused by the extreme weather.”