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Power cut helpline delayed until 2016

power cutsIn what could be a microcosm for the state of UK energy policy, the Opposition Labour party have revealed that the single number power cut helpline designed to simplify the myriad of numbers and postcode guessing game currently in place for people and businesses suffering from blackouts, will not be “up and running” for another 18 months.

Quite how or why it can take that long from a non-standing start to deliver a single phone number is unclear.

Caroline Flint, the shadow energy secretary, who tabled the parliamentary question that revealed the delay said:

“It is totally unacceptable that a year after they promised to set up a 999-style blackout hotline there is still no number for households to call – and at the current rate there won’t be one next winter either.

“It only takes three years to build a power station, so there’s no reason why it should take so long to get a helpline up and running.”

Most amusing but the power station analogy would be worth more credit if we were actually building any as a nation rather than staring at our feet and worrying about the cure and not the prevention.

With April 2016 now the earliest date that customers will have a single emergency number for power cuts they will in the meantime have to make do with power cut directories offered by independent parties to help in a time of crisis.

Matthew Hancock, the Business Minister, excused the government from the problem, saying that it was the Energy Networks Association (ENA) who were actually in “charge of the process” with DECC affirming this situation whilst bizarrely claiming that setting up a single emergency number helpline took time because it involved negotiating with the EU.

You couldn’t make it up. Indeed Farage and his cronies couldn’t have done a better job.

Let’s hope there is no reason to fear a greater than usual level of power cuts before April 2016…. Oh dear.