Pensioners in a panic over loss of electricity

Residents in Glenbrae Court and Parkfoot tower blocks fear being cut-off from their electrical supply for a day. Picture: Michael Gillen

Residents in Glenbrae Court and Parkfoot tower blocks fear being cut-off from their electrical supply for a day. Picture: Michael Gillen

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Pensioners living in specially adapted flats are urging an energy company to provide help when the electric is cut to the buildings for new cables.

SP Energy is due to carry out upgrade maintenance at the 14-floor Glenbrae Court and Parkfoot tower blocks in Kemper Avenue starting over the next few weeks.

The work will mean electrical power is cut to the buildings over a 24-hour period, which has left the residents fearful they will have no hot water or be able to cook hot meals while the work is being done.

Tenants and the local authority were informed of the planned work at a meeting last Thursday, which has caused concern among residents and Falkirk Council, who say they are now trying to accommodate vulnerable residents at ‘short notice’.

Adrian Osborne (74), who lives with partner Elaine Cummings in Glenbrae Court, said: “We have been told the electricity to the whole building and the lifts will be out of commission between 9am and 4pm.

“This will leave vulnerable, sick and disabled and other tenants who will have to stay in their flats all day without heating, hot meals and drinks and the inability to gain access or egress to their homes. It is not a realistic proposition and needs rethinking.”

Councillor Dennis Goldie said: “I am aware of concerns being raised by residents of Glenbrae Court regards installation of a new cable. I have spoken to housing regards these concerns, similar works have been carried out before in our high flats and the experience gained will be put to use when this work is undertaken. The council will work with the tenants group to minimise any disruption.”

A council spokesperson said: “We are doing everything we can to ensure that any vulnerable tenants or those who have special requirements are looked after during the work (expected to last one day). Unfortunately this takes time and the notice we have been given by Scottish Power of their intentions was very short.

“It is not an ideal situation, however, we are arranging to personally visit every one of the affected tenants to discuss the situation and put in place support to assist them during the work.”

The company is due to be on site over the next “couple of weeks”, so any assistance will have to be arranged by then.

An SP Energy Networks spokesperson said: “The duration of works will take six to eight weeks. This work will secure supplies to the buildings for years to come.

“During a 24-hour period supplies may be interrupted to residents for a short period of time. A notice period of two weeks will be given to residents prior to this happening to allow for alternative arrangements to be made.

“We will be working closely with the residents, housing officers and social work to ensure we put plans in place for any residents with specific vulnerabilities. A site office will be set up and we welcome any residents with any concerns to discuss this with the site manager. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause and will work to keep this to a minimum.”