Cold blast as couple are left to freeze

Hindley couple Margaret and Irvine Spencer
Hindley couple Margaret and Irvine Spencer

A WIGAN couple have been left shivering after a series of boiler breakdowns during the big freeze.

Irvine and Margaret Spence have had resort to boiling saucepans of water on an electric stove to have a bath as icles form outside because of the problems.

Now their ward councillor, who was called in by the desperate pensioners, has blasted the emergency repair service Carrillion, the successors to the Warm Front scheme.

Coun Jim Ellis said: “The service they have had is totally unacceptable.”

Mrs Spence of Hindley, says that she took up an offer for the Warm Front heating system upgrade three years ago.

But she said that she has actually been having problems with the boiler shortly after the installation as it kept losing pressure which resulted in the system automatically tripping off. At one stage they were told that they had to put up with the inconvenience of re-pressurising the system - which meant having to climb into the attic - every two weeks.

But on January 27 the system packed up completely leaving them without any heating at all as the temperatures plunged outside.

After reporting the issue and suffering a full 48 hours without heating, an engineer from Carrillion came out to check the system and informed them that it needed a part he didn’t carry.

But a pledge that the engineer would return in a couple of days to finish the repair proved to be the proverbial hot air.

Coun Ellis said: “The Carrillion engineer didn’t seem overly concerned that both Mr and Mrs Spence were elderly and in poor health with a medical condition.

“Having got through on the phone to find out when repairs would be done the only sense they could get was a recorded voice advising them what they needed to do to was restart the boiler.

“Phoning them on Mrs and Mrs Spence’s behalf was a nightmare and not satisfactory.

“After an hour negotiating the Homewarm phone system I managed to speak to a human at Carillion although how I got there I have no idea because Carillion wasn’t mentioned on the list of phone numbers in the leaflet.

“It was obvious from my efforts that complaints were not welcome.”

Carrillion, who charge the couple a monthly premium to provide ‘Breakdown Cover,’ failed to respond to our requests for a comment.