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Rainham residents left without heating at troubled Orchard Village during freezing temperatures of Storm Emma

PUBLISHED: 12:56 07 March 2018 | UPDATED: 12:56 07 March 2018

A block of flats within the Orchard Village estate, Rainham. Picture: Google Maps

A block of flats within the Orchard Village estate, Rainham. Picture: Google Maps

Google Maps

Residents left without heating during Storm Emma believe the faults highlight some long-standing issues at a Rainham estate.

Trevor Mckeever and Nicholas West from the South Hornchurch Labour Action Team tried to help Orchard Village residents with their heating problems. Trevor Mckeever and Nicholas West from the South Hornchurch Labour Action Team tried to help Orchard Village residents with their heating problems.

When the UK was experiencing extreme cold temperatures during Storm Emma, the heating system at Orchard Village in Broadis Way collapsed.

David Harvey, 35, lives on the ground floor of the flats. He said: “Over the bad weather period all hot water and heating went off, and when some people called SSE their addresses were not on the database, so they had to wait three days.

“After this my partner filed a complaint and we received a cheque for £54 and were told we wouldn’t have anymore problems, but the next day, the heating went off again.

“These heating problems have been happening over the last six years, it was only due to the extreme cold weather that everyone needed help.”

Leigh Hayward, 27, from Orchard Village added: “The problem is when we didn’t have heating, we also had no hot water or cold water.

“This is happening more and more, and there’s no long term solution.

“It’s having a debilitating effect on myself and my children, I fear for the older residents of Orchard Village.”

An SSE spokeswoman responded: “We can confirm our Orchard Village site experienced an outage that lasted five hours and 30 minutes on March 2.

“We appreciate that this took place during a period of extreme weather and we are sorry for any discomfort residents suffered during the period it took to resolve the issue.”

Trevor Mckeever and Nicholas West from the South Hornchurch Labour Action Team visited residents and contacted the neighbourhood office to try and find a solution.

Trevor said: “Residents are now informing us that the breakdowns seem to happen when the system is working hard to meet demand.

“Unfortunately not everybody’s heating is working, a previous heating fault has not been rectified which has left a mum and her two year-old daughter with little or no heating for three of the coldest days of the year.”

Georgia Carthy, 23, lives at Bramley Court in Orchard Village and she first reported her faulty heating on Thursday, March 1.

“I was told that my post code was not on the system, also it would take up to three days to get it put on the system and only then could a heating engineer attend,” said Georgia.

“I was then told to go on YouTube to watch videos on how to make repairs to my heating system.

“I was so cold, I had to take my two year-old daughter and myself to stay at a friend’s house.”

Georgia was told that because she had one working radiator, her situation did not require an emergency response.

However because all of the energy was being charged towards one radiator in her home, it routinely turned off.

A Clarion Housing Group spokeswoman said: “Several visits have been made to Ms Carthy’s property and there is heating in the flat, although two radiators are not fully heating so we have arranged for a further visit to be made by an engineer from our contractor. BSW, later today (Tuesday, March 6) to repair these.”

Follwing the visit from the engineer, SSE explained that all Orchard Village supply addresses are set up on their system and they will investigate further to check the addresses are logged correctly on their system.

The SSE spokeswoman added: “As a three day period falls beyond the standard timeframe we must meet for responding to faults we believe that this converation may have taken place not with SSE but with the housing association.

“Unfortunately Ms Carthy had no success in her attempts to get the housing association to attend this fault.

“Despite the fault lying beyond SSE’s area of responsibility, SSE sent an engineer to the property on March 6 and successfully managed to get all bar one of her radiators operational.”

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