EXLUSIVE: by Imogen Calderwood
HUNDREDS of Brits have finally got their electricity back after surviving for more than a week in total darkness.
Pensioners and families living in the Sol Andalusi complex in Alhaurin de la Torre were left completely powerless without warning on July 24. Electricity company Endesa cut off the power due to unpaid bills. However, the community had actually paid its share to the complex’s developers, who never passed it on. The developers – Sol Andalusi SA – went into voluntary liquidation in October 2013, leaving a debt of more than €150,000.
As well as all electricity, generators used to power water pumps stopped working, along with lift facilities.
This left many pensioners stranded in their apartments, unable to cope with the stairs.
Jasmine Nursing Home – which cares for 13 British pensioners and one German – is based on the fifth floor of the complex, and was forced to run errands and buy food for the stranded residents.
But owner Danielle Jenkins stayed positive throughout the difficult week.
“Of course it is hard,” she told the Olive Press, “but we have a back-up generator which is keeping us going, and we are powering through in true British style.”
One resident – who wished to remain anonymous – left his apartment to buy bread, but was forced to carry his inhaler for the return journey up the four flights of stairs to his home.
“The last time I had to come down to get bread, going back up nearly killed me,” he said.
But the complex had electricity restored on Friday afternoon, after pressure from the town hall, political groups and media organisations.
Electores Equo, a private ecological group, joined the campaign to put pressure on Endesa to reconnect the electricity.
“We received a huge number of pleas for help from residents, and we stepped in to see what we could do,” said Agapito Garrido, a leading member of the group.
“It is excellent news that the electricity has been reconnected so quickly.”
Pedro Hoz, the lawyer speaking for Sol Andalusi SA, said that he was ‘surprised and outraged’ by the claims of unpaid debts.
The community is currently pursuing a contract with Endesa that would cut out Sol Andalusi SA, and avoid leaving residents in the dark over matters such as this in the future.