Some 600 flats occupied by some 3,000 residents on the Ocean Estate in Tower Hamlets were recently left without hot water and heating for a week during one of the coldest periods of the year. With no alternative accommodation offered to vulnerable residents at a time of near freezing temperatures following the breakdown of the district heating system, Rushanara Ali MP has referred East Thames to the Housing Regulator, the Housing and Communities Agency, to ensure that lessons are learnt and this doesn’t happen again.
The district heating system provided by Vital Energi for the Ocean Estate has broken down twice over the last six weeks and left residents relying on East Thames to provide electric heaters and oil radiators to keep warm. Many residents were subsequently advised to use facilities at the Mile End Stadium, where there are only a handful of showers, an amount that was clearly not adequate for the needs of some 3,000 residents.
The Member of Parliament for Bethnal Green and Bow has been inundated with calls and emails from residents complaining about the total absence of basic services on the Ocean Estate. Over the past week she has been in constant contact with East Thames to try and resolve the issue.
During a meeting in the Houses of Parliament on Tuesday with the Housing and Communities Agency, Rushanara called for an investigation to be undertaken to make sure that lessons are learnt from this recent problem and that residents are fully compensated. Rushanara has also requested that East Thames open an investigation to ensure that this incident is not repeated.
“I have asked the regulator to investigate why 3,000 of my constituents went without heating or hot water for a whole week and were left to go to the local gym to shower and rely on electric heaters to keep warm. I believe Vital Energi and East Thames have a case to answer.”
“The regulator must ensure lessons are learnt from this recent crisis so that residents do not have to suffer in this way in the future.”