CHRISTMAS was chaotic for a group of residents in Dummer who were left without power for five days.

Electricity to 45 homes in Bible Fields and Dummer Down Lane cut off at 4am on Christmas Eve after a tree fell on the cable in Dummer Down Lane. Power was only restored at midnight on Saturday, December 28.

Deb and Mike Vincent, of Bible Fields, were meant to have Mrs Vincent’s mother over for Christmas, but ended up visiting her instead.

Mrs Vincent said: “We have a gas hob and a wood burner but I really feel for people who use power for cooking and for the people who are completely electric.

“Our next door neighbour put up a placard by his door saying ‘turkeys cooked here for £5 each’ as he has got a gas cooker.”

The 56-year-old mother-of-one criticised the lack of communication from Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) during the power cut, and said: “Their communication between what is going on and their engineers is completely confused.”

She said no one from SSE came out until Friday, December 27, adding: “I imagine they are going for the bigger areas but there is a community of 45 houses which have been off for five days. The engineers look absolutely shattered – they are working flat out to fix it.”

Vicki and Paul Wadmore and two of their four children had to stay with various relatives from Boxing Day.

Vicki said: “We just couldn’t take it anymore.”

The family managed to host 14 people for dinner on Christmas Day at their home in Dummer Down Lane, by asking relatives to cook the food and bring it back.

Vicki said “It was a Christmas we won’t forget!”

The 42 year-old believes SSE abandoned the community, adding: “When you see cables down and no-one is attending, that is the most disheartening thing.

“It would have been nice to see a human being to knock on the door and say ‘this is what is happening and bear with us’, we had no street lights so we were in pitch black.”

Sharron Miller McKenzie, a press officer for SSE, said: “We were able to deploy hundreds of staff throughout the Christmas week in the effort to restore electricity supplies to customers as safely and quickly as possible.

“The combination of high winds, extensive flooding, fallen trees, impassable roads and the limited periods of daylight at this time of year created some of the most difficult conditions experienced for many years.

“We would like to thank affected customers for their patience, employees for their commitments and other agencies for their co-operation. Like every one of the organisations involved, we will review the events of the past week as part of our ongoing commitment to keeping power supply interruptions to the minimum possible.”

Residents are now looking for compensation, which SSE has promised for the inconvenience.

Stuart Hogarth, director of distribution for SSE, said: “We acknowledge our customers were without power at a very important time of the year and our compensation payments will reflect this fact and also address any specific issues customers may have had on a case-by-case basis.”