Ten flats on Hoxton estate left without power for six days – as residents criticise housing association’s response

The estate is close to Old Street roundabout. Image: Google

Residents on a Hoxton estate have hit out at their housing association after 10 flats were left without electricity for almost a week.

People living at the City Road estate have accused Clarion Housing of mismanaging a power cut that happened on 12 April.

Carlene Glover, secretary of City Road’s tenants’ and residents’ association, said: “The power cut happened at 4pm on Friday, and some people affected were not contacted until 7.30-8pm the next day.”

In a statement to the Citizen, a Clarion spokesperson said: “We have been updating all affected residents individually since we were made aware of the issue and will continue to do so.”

Residents say every time they tried to contact Clarion, they were put through to its call centre, and were not given a direct point of contact.

Clarion has an out-of-hours service, but one resident said “they’ve contracted out their emergency line, so they weren’t responding to any requests until they came back to work on Monday morning”.

The resident, who does not want to be named, said she was “lucky” with the first accommodation she was offered because she has a health condition.

However, she said that she was moved to a different hotel three times during the six-day power cut.

“I was only booked into a hotel for two nights at a time, despite Clarion saying they were unsure how long the power cut would take to fix,” she continued.

“It feels like we had to take on the stress and worry of the situation rather than them [Clarion].”

Clarion was asked why longer-term accommodation was not provided to residents, and the spokesperson replied: “A total of 10 flats lost power and the residents of each were moved to temporary accommodation while we worked to restore it.

“Unfortunately, due to availability, it is not always possible for customers to stay in the same hotel.”

Glover said that, of the other residents, “three flats weren’t put in a hotel until Saturday evening, and then they had to check out at midday on Sunday.”

Glover added that some were offered hotels as far away as South London.

“We live in Hoxton – it’s not like there’s not a surplus of hotels. Travelodge, Premier Inn, you can get a refund if you cancel them, and they had rooms available.”

“One of [the residents] is a mother with her young daughter – by the time they told her they’d booked a new hotel for her for Sunday night, it was so far away that it was late for them travel,” said Glover. “So, they stayed the night in a flat without electricity.”

In a post on X, formerly Twitter, Cllr Clare Joseph said she was “shocked” by Clarion’s response.

She later said to the Citizen: “Whilst these things happen sometimes, there doesn’t seem to be a clear plan of action or any emergency protocol.

“It’s disappointing that residents have been decanted into hotels and then had to come home and move to another hotel, and another, sometimes two or three times because Clarion haven’t block-booked.

“I believe some people have come back to stay in powerless homes because the hotels they have been offered are too far away. Understandably, it is causing residents a lot of anxiety.”

Glover said she had to go out and buy supplies for the flats impacted, such as bottled water and milk, with her own money.

“We’ve got workmen doing repairs to the lift, and they were letting residents use their kettle and charge their phones.”

Residents say that it was these workers, not electricians from Clarion, who acted and fixed the outage.

When Clarion was asked why this happened, they responded: “Wates was in control of the site, as they are currently working on replacing the lift under the terms of their planned investment partnership contract.

“As such, it made sense that they were contacted in the first instance, in case the power cut was related to those works.”

One resident said: “I spoke to UK Power, and they were shocked at how we were treated. They said it should never take that long for a power outage to be fixed.

“It felt like [Clarion] was more interested in finding someone to blame rather than prioritising residents and fixing the issue at hand.”

The Clarion spokesperson said: “We’re sorry for the inconvenience caused to residents by this power outage.

“We believe that the outage was caused by work upgrading fibre optic cabling and we have launched an investigation.”

Glover told the Citizen that up until last week, “no-one even knew how to get compensation”.

She said: “There was no thought process about how people could even contact Clarion if they needed to charge their phones.

“Clarion has taken for granted that people even have neighbours and families for support. It’s lucky we have a good relationship with neighbours.”