An end may finally be in sight to the mysterious and distressing power surges that have bedevilled Grenfell Tower residents throughout the past month. However, decisive action was only taken yesterday after highly distressed residents descended en masse on the estate office to demand action. They had woken to find smoke issuing from various electrical appliances in their homes, including the light fixtures, and descended in panic to the estate office to demand help and assistance. Emergency electricians who attended later in the day were finally, it seems, able to identify the source of the problem. An emergency temporary electrical by-pass supply has been provided and the necessary follow–up works will be carried out in the near future.
It is very clear at this stage that the electrical supply to Grenfell Tower has been in a very dangerous condition for several weeks. It is equally clear that the authorities had been repeatedly warned of this but had failed to react with sufficient urgency and had failed to take adequate remedial measures.
As evidence of this we present the extract below from an email sent on 13th May by Shah Ahmed, Chair of the Grenfell Tower Leaseholders Association, to Robert Black at TMO and various RBKC councillors and TMO officers:
“Continuous Power Surges in Grenfell Tower
There have been two weeks of power surges in the building, most notably in the early hours of the morning and throughout the evening and night time. Electronic apparatus are seriously affected by these surges. Computers are turned on and off, lights continually flicker becoming very dim and extremely bright in the space of a few seconds.
On 11th May 2013 at 9:05pm we had numerous power surges in the space of a minute, and in that process my computer and monitor literally exploded with smoke seeping out from the back and the smell of burnt electronics filled our entire computer. My monitor also fused at the same time. When I called the TMO out of hours service the standard textbook response was given to us that I was the first one to report such a problem and I was made to feel like a fool reporting such an issue, which resulted in years of data being lost forever.
Please note if the power surges continue at Grenfell Tower, it would be very dangerous and costly because it is interfering with electric and electronic items in the household, including the telephone line, television, fridge, washing machine, computer etc”.
A NUMBER OF THINGS NEED TO HAPPEN NOW:
- Grenfell Tower residents are demanding an emergency meeting with RBKC and TMO officers to fully explain what went wrong with the electrical supply, and why the TMO failed to respond with appropriate urgency. This meeting should be arranged as a matter of urgency.
- Officers attending the meeting should be prepared to explain why electrical engineers who ordered the planned power cut in Grenfell Tower between 08:30-17:30 on Saturday 18th May failed to identify and rectify a serious and dangerous fault in the electrical supply at that time.
- A single staircase with no natural light is the only emergency exit route from Grenfell Tower. The emergency lighting system in that stairwell should be thoroughly checked to ensure that neither the system itself, nor any of the individual battery packs, has been damaged by the power surges of recent weeks. If there is damage it should be immediately repaired as a matter of urgency.
- A number of electrical appliances belonging to Grenfell Tower residents were damaged or destroyed by power surges in recent weeks, although the amount off such damage and the number of victims is not yet known. On the face of it either the TMO or its electrical contractors would appear to be liable, but so far the TMO has denied any liability. Liability for this damage must be ascertained as soon as possible and all residents whose property was damaged should be fully compensated, including those whose refrigerated food was spoilt during the planned power cut on 18th May.
RBKC councillors please take careful note of the above. We feel very strongly that there needs to be much closer scrutiny by TMO Technical Services Officers of the performance of contractors, particularly those supplying essential and emergency services, and much closer scrutiny by RBKC scrutiny committees of the TMO and its service delivery arrangements and monitoring.
Thursday 30th May 9.13am
Many residents in Grenfell Tower are extremely shocked and angry about what has happened and many of the people descending on the Estate Office yesterday morning were distressed and close to tears. It is a fact that many households in Grenfell Tower have now lost the majority of their electrical appliances (washing machines, computers, televisions, etc) and very few (if any) of these residents have any household insurance.
We want to know why the problem of the power surge was not taken seriously when it was first reported and why, as a result of this dangerous and negligent behaviour, many residents have had their health and safety placed at extreme risk, in addition to losing electrical appliances in their properties?