Three-week phone blackout in Denby

Villagers in Denby have blasted BT after their phone lines were cut off for nearly three weeks following a lightning strike.

Thunderstorms on Saturday, July 27, knocked out the phone lines of around 20 homes on High Bank, and some residents were still waiting to be reconnected when the News contacted them on Monday, August 19.

Retired engineer Les Goddard claims BT failed to update the residents properly - many of whom are elderly and rely upon the internet.

Les, 68, said: “An older lady was trying to renew her prescription for essential medicine by telephone and she ran out of mobile credit. She had to go into Ripley to sort it out.

“BT are providing a service and we pay them to ensure that the network is in good order.

“I had to go into Ripley and sit in the car park so I could do some internet banking. We wouldn’t have been half so angry if they had bothered to send us a letter to explain the situation.

“They’re communications experts. Why do they have so much trouble communicating?”

On Wednesday, August 14, BT sent him a text explaining the work would be started on Friday and would be complete by Wednesday, August 21.

He said this week that roughly half of the lines were back on by Monday, August 19.

Les added: “We can’t really be sure of what is happening.”

BT says it is doing everything it can to repair the damaged cables.

A BT spokesperson said: “Repairs to lightning damage can often be difficult and time consuming as there tends to be multiple fault locations following no pattern.

“Engineers have been onsite and restored some services but we do still have some residents still without service. We are due back onsite tomorrow (August 21) for more works to carry out tree cutting to allow us to access and test an aerial cable and associated pole to diagnose what needs to be done to repair the remaining issue.

“We apologise to those people who have been affected by loss of service, our engineers are doing all they can and are working as fast as possible to carry out all the necessary repair works and provide service to customers.”

Les felt: “They have a duty of care which they don’t seem to be taking too seriously. BT has taken nearly three weeks and onwards to show some urgency.

“BT ought to do some regular checks on the state of their lines.

“It wouldn’t have stopped the lightning strike but it would have made correcting the fault so much easier.”

Last week BT advised High Bank residents to contact their internet service providers to seek compensation for the loss of service.

Les said people were being left out of pocket by having to use their mobile phones for every call - especially ‘pay as you go’ tariffs, which can cost more to call premium rate numbers.

BT declined to respond when asked if it would compensate the people of High Bank.