Villagers' phones still out of order

Villagers whose phone lines were knocked out by a lightning bolt three weeks ago are still waiting to have their properties reconnected.

Villagers whose phone lines were knocked out by a lightning bolt three weeks ago are still waiting to be reconnected.

Now their plight has been highlighted by South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon, who has demanded that BT chief executive Ben Verwaayen takes action to ensure the service is restored to the the Tivetshall communities near Long Stratton without further delay.

He said: "It is simply unacceptable that residents in the Tivetshalls are still waiting for BT to reconnect them.

"For many people, particularly the elderly, their BT landline is a necessity that connects them to friends, family and vital services. This delay will have caused confusion, doubt and worry.

"BT has not communicated with local residents adequately and the service they have received is simply not acceptable.

"I have written to Ben Verwaayen, the chief executive of BT, asking him for a firm promise as to when the Tivetshalls can expect to be reconnected, and also how BT intends to compensate residents for the inconvenience they have suffered."

Most Read

Lightning struck a telephone pole near Robert Genung's home in Ram Lane, Tivetshall St Mary, during a storm on Wednesday, September 13.

Dr Genung complained yesterday: "We are now in day 19 without services, and it is totally unacceptable. It took five days before BT showed their face, and the first time they came out we were told that, because the telephone pole was condemned, they werenprepared to climb it. So we waited and waited days for them to bring in a hoist, my understanding being there are only two in East Anglia to do the work.

"What annoys me is it has taken them two-and-a-half weeks to establish that the cable is bad.

"A section that goes under the A140 will have to be replaced. They were going to put in stop/go signals and we were told we would have a temporary service by last Thursday, but nothing happened.

"I've got blackened walls in my house, and Energix came out within 45 minutes (of the lightning strike) and replaced the wiring between my home and the condemned pole. I have written to the chairman of BT and have had not so much as a boo back, which I find extraordinary."

Dr Genung does have a mobile phone - although he can only get good reception in his upstairs toilet. But he said a neighbour who lived on his own and had diabetes and high blood pressure relied on his landline.

BT spokesman Emma Littlejohn apologised to customers affected by the fault. She added:"The lightning strike on September 13 caused severe and extensive damage to our network, to both overhead and underground cables. This work is still ongoing as our repair work has, unfortunately, uncovered more damage.

"We assure customers we are doing all we can to restore their service as soon as possible and are sorry if they feel they have not received good customer service from us during this difficult period."