A NINETY-one-year-old Milverton woman and her next-door neighbours were left for three weeks without heating or hot water in freezing weather after Somerset West and Taunton Council (SWT) failed to repair their heat pumps.

The Creedwell Close sheltered housing estate lost its electricity supply on February 2 due to a cable fault which took 11 hours to repair.

When power was eventually restored it blew the heat pumps in Molly German’s bungalow and her neighbour’s home.

SWT’S response on hearing Mrs German was without power was to send her several portable electric heaters.

When the council’s contractors Low Carbon Exchange (LCE), based in Weston-super-Mare, eventually arrived to mend Mrs German’s heat pump they had brought the wrong part and said they would return in March.

But after pressure from Creedwell Close resident Gerald May, who helps to look after Mrs German, they returned three weeks after the power outage.

Milverton Creedwell Close Molly German heat pump electricity
Molly German with some of the electric heaters SWT gave her when her electricity was cut off. ( )

Mr May said the contractors initially claimed the delay was due to SWT not issuing written work order, and later blamed the war in Ukraine for holding up the supply of parts.

Retired farm manager Mr May said: “I think it is diabolical, it is disgusting.

“The council sent out electric heaters but she did not have any electric.

“Now she has electric is back on but no heating system and no hot water.

“You could not make it up.

“If it was not for us and our neighbours she could be dead by now.”

Mrs German, who suffers mobility issues, said: “I have been so cold. It has been difficult, especially those frosty mornings. They have been very cold nights.

“It is when you wake up to frost everywhere and a freezing cold kitchen and sitting room. It is difficult to keep warm.

“There is no heating in the bathroom. If I want to wash I have to boil a kettle. Holding a boiling kettle of water for a 90-year-old is not very clever.

“I am not exactly angry, but it upset me and made me anxious.”

Mrs German said she had not used the council-supplied portable heaters once her power had been restored because they were expensive to run and she could not afford the extra electricity costs.

Low Carbon Exchange was asked by the Wellington Weekly to comment but had not done so at the time of going to press.

SWT was also asked to comment and provided a statement which said the original power outage was National Grid’s responsibility and had caused damage to circuit boards.

The council’s spokeswoman said Creedwell Close tenants were able to obtain hot water from their immersion heaters and all residents had been visited by staff and appointments made for contractors to attend and carry out repairs.

She said the council had also guaranteed to pick up the extra cost of power for running electric heaters.

However, Mr May pointed out that immersion heaters were removed from the bungalows several years ago when the council replaced them with heat pumps as an energy-saving measure.

He said apart from sending portable electric heaters nobody from the council had visited him or Mrs German and she was therefore unaware SWT would meet the higher electricity bills.

SWT was asked to revisit its original statement on the issue but had not responded at the time of going to press.