Woman up all night to watch over brother on ventilator in power cut

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A woman has said she had to sit up all night to watch over her brother on a ventilator due to a power cut which hit Wirral overnight.

Lynn Naylor said she was "disgusted" that she and brother Ian were not informed about the outage as they are on the Priority Services Register (PSR) – a list that allows energy and network suppliers know if a household is a priority.

ScottishPower told the ECHO Lynn was contacted via text message on the phone number provided – a number Lynn said she has had for more than 10 years, but she says she did not receive a text.

The 66-year-old, who lives in Irby said she was woken by her brother as the alarm was set off on his ventilator to signal there was no power.

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She said: "My brother is 54 and suffers from scoliosis [a twisting of the spine] and a few years back this got worse and compressed his lungs – he became very poorly, although he is much better now.

"This meant, alongside his other conditions of respiratory failure and hydrocephalus [water on the brain], he has to have a ventilator to sleep at night.

"He can not sleep without the ventilator otherwise too much carbon dioxide builds up in the body."

Lynn said she had gone to bed when she was woken by Ian and the safety alarm on his ventilator.

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She said: "We had only recently gone to bed and I must have fallen asleep because Ian had come in and told me his ventilator alarm had gone off.

Wirral blackout cut electricity to all homes, businesses and street lights

"We then noticed the lights didn't work and all the phones were dead – we couldn't even call anyone for help.

"We just had to sit up all night and the power didn't come back on until 5.55am."

ScottishPower has blamed faults with some of the underground cables for the blackout that began at midnight informing people after the electricity went off and said if there are any planned power cuts they would always inform people on the priority list beforehand.

They had hoped to have power restored by 2am but it wasn't until 6am that electricity was fully restored in most areas.

Lynn said they were facing a long day fuelled by lots of tea, but said she was disappointed they were not made aware of the blackout.

She said: "Luckily, this has never happened before, but being on the priority register other companies have let us know.

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"United Utilities have always been brilliant, they always let us know if the water is going to be cut and bring us bottles of water as Ian's ventilator uses water for the dehumidifier.

"But nobody got in touch and we couldn't contact anybody, so we have sat up all night – it's disgusting."

A spokesperson for SP Energy Networks said: "Supporting customers when they need it most is one of our top priorities and we actively encourage all eligible customers to sign up for the Priority Services Register.

"Being on the Register really does make a difference and gives comfort and reassurance to customers that we will be there to provide extra help and support when they need it most.

"During the recent power cut in the Wirral, we proactively contacted all customers on the register via text message and voice alert to let them know what was happening and to check if they needed any assistance.

"This includes Ms Naylor, who was contacted via text message on the phone number registered on our system and we would ask her to contact us on 105 to ensure we have up to date contact details.

"We would also remind all customers to let us know if their contact details change at any time so we can keep in touch with them in the event of a power cut like this."

To register you need to contact your energy supplier but you can get all the latest information on the PSR via the regulator Ofgem here.

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