Hawick mum’s fury as energy firm fails family in big freeze

John, 8 month Bethany and Catherine shiver in their Burnfoot home during their three days without heating.
John, 8 month Bethany and Catherine shiver in their Burnfoot home during their three days without heating.

A HAWICK mother is taking on one of the country’s biggest energy providers after claiming her baby daughter became ill when their home was left without heat for three days in sub-zero temperatures.

Catherine Knight is seeking compensation after she says npower failed to attend her Scott Crescent home to fix a frozen gas meter.

She maintains her eight-month-old daughter Bethany is still recovering from the illness she picked up when her house had no heating.

npower, which argues a National Grid engineer was sent to the property to fix the fault but found no-one at home, has offered a £50 “goodwill gesture” to Miss Knight for the inconvenience, but she is unhappy with their offer.

She said: “I have spoken to a lawyer and he is taking up my case with npower. I don’t think £50 is good enough when Bethany is still not well.”

The dispute began for Miss Knight, 17, her partner John Kerr, 41, and Bethany on December 2, in the midst of a freezing spell of weather earlier this month which almost brought the Borders to a standstill.

After informing npower of the frozen gas meter, Miss Knight was left without any heating after experiencing problems with her gas supply prepayment card.

The teenager says she again contacted npower but was told the office was closed because of the weather, forcing her to stay overnight with her parents Tracey Graham and Angus Young, while Mr Kerr had to spend the night in the freezing house.

Miss Knight adds: “I phoned npower the next day and was told an engineer would come out, but I waited in the freezing cold house and no-one turned up. John recorded the temperature that day and it was -12 within the house. I phoned the emergency line and no-one could help us. I was stuck and didn’t know what to do.”

On December 4, Miss Knight phoned npower again and claims she was told the engineer had appeared at the house, which she strongly denies.

An engineer restored the supply later on the same day, but Miss Knight was even more annoyed by what she claims he had to say.

“The engineer who called round said he had been on call the day before and had never had a call-out to come to our house,” she said.

A statement from npower said: “While National Grid have assured us that they did visit the property, we have given Miss Knight a gesture of goodwill for the disruption.”

But Miss Knight is still unhappy with her treatment and the consequences of spending time in a sub-zero house.

She added: “I had to sleep for one night with no heating and John had to sleep for two.

“Even during the day it was very cold and Bethany became ill. She has chest problems and is still not well. Myself and John were also unwell because of the cold.

“I will be changing power company when this is sorted – it really is unacceptable.”