What on earth is going on at Grenfell Tower? We don’t know – and nor it seems does the TMO who are responsible for managing Grenfell Tower. What we do know is that there have been frequent and continuing power surges – sometimes accompanied by loss of water supply – that have caused great nuisance and distress to many residents and have destroyed a number of electronic appliances – computers in particular. As usual the TMO has been slow to respond, although it appears now to be doing so. So far they are also denying any liability for damage done to residents electrical appliances. We reproduce below the text of an email from the Vice Chair of the Grenfell Leaseholders Association to Councillor Judith Blakeman dated 28 May 2013:
“Just to update you and for your prompt action, during the weekend and particularly on Monday we had severe power surges throughout the night and they have been continuing right through the morning.
For us it does not matter who is responsible, but one thing is for sure we are losing our electronic appliances very fast due to the power surges. It is our obligation as residents to refer back to the TMO/EMB who should follow their obligation. Protecting resident’s interest should be the utmost priority for the TMO/EMB/KALC/COUNCIL/POWER SUPPLIER. Passing on the responsibility when residents’ welfare is at stake is wholly unacceptable. It has already created frustration and unhappy residents.
The problem is becoming months old and TMO and KALC (Leadbitter) has come up with two explanations in layman terms, but we do not find this explanation credible. The explanation given by the Director of Asset and Management and Regeneration Mr Peter Maddison to our Local Councilor Judith Blakeman dated 24th May 2013 was,
”There are lots of theories about the possible cause of this problem, but we are lacking in hard facts. It is possible that the power surges are tripping out the water pumps – leading to the intermittent water supply. We are trying to validate this and identify an appropriate solution.
To date 7 residents have reported specific problems, apparently caused by power surges.-
We refute this assertion by Mr. Peter Maddison and it’s not true and we are sure that most of the resident are affected by this power surges.
We can report that Leadbitter is not at this time carrying out any works which involve high voltage electricity. We would also say, that surges of this nature, could only come through the transformer located in the tower basement, from the Grid. We have suggested that the TMO contact DNO (UKPN) for further investigation.
We have advised the TMO of this as the question had come up in a meeting with them.”
Cllr. Judith Blakeman informed us dated 24th May 2013:
“ I think Ms. Johnson was suggesting that you should contact the insurers for your household contents in the first instance until such time as we have more information.”
The explanation given by the Director of Housing Ms Laura Johnson dated 23rd May 2013:
“I have also asked Leadbitters if these surges can be explained at all by the development (although I think this is very unlikely as they do not access the same power source as Grenfell Tower). My initial thoughts are that this is a problem with the power supplier rather than anything to do with the TMO or KALC but I and the TMO will look into it”.
Leaflet dated 24th May 2013 from Siobhan Rumble:
“In addition metering equipment has been installed on site, which will provide us with details of any further surges to Grenfell tower. This information will enable us to indentify the cause of these issues and agree necessary works.”
The inspection carried out by the TMO contractor RGE in individual flats came out normal. Could you please also confirm that the TMO/EMB has identified the cause of the further power surges since they have installed the metering equipment. Residents are continuing to lose their appliances; this is a very serious matter. We are quite shocked and surprised that the TMO/EMB/Leadbitter/Power suppliers are taking so long to fix the problems while working on the KALC is ongoing with no problem in the world. It is extremely frustrating. What do they take us for? We wait to hear from you immediately.”
On behalf of Grenfell Tower Leaseholder’s Association and Residents of Grenfell Tower