PLUG PULLED ON DRUMBEG

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A CAMPAIGN of threats against NIE employees has led to the firm pulling the plug on meter reading in Drumbeg and Meadowbrook.

Staff at the electricity network fear for their safety after a year of threats, abuse and hijackings.

Four hundred customers have been sent letters from NIE telling them the network will not be carrying out its quarterly meter read.

In early March NIE warned that services may be curtailed following a serious increase in attacks.

At that time NIE revealed eight employees have been threatened or attacked and five vehicles damaged in the Craigavon area in the last 12 months.

Tom Doran, Metering Manager at NIE, the electricity network company, said: “Due to a ten month campaign of threats against NIE employees, the company will not be carrying out its quarterly meter read in the Drumbeg and Meadowbrook areas this month.

“We have written to the 400 affected customers this week to let them know and will be sending out a reminder letter next week.

“Since July last year, eight employees have been threatened or attacked and five vehicles damaged or completely destroyed. This level of threat has forced us to carry out a full risk assessment before we send any employee into the area whether they are reading a meter or fixing a fault on the electricity network. On this occasion we decided not to send in meter readers but we will keep this situation under review.

“Having read meters in Drumbeg myself last quarter, I am conscious that the vast majority of people appreciate the work that we carry out. However, a small number of individuals are making it difficult for us to do our job.

“We would remind customers that NIE, the electricity network company, reads electricity meters for all customers no matter who bills them. To avoid an estimated bill, customers can submit their own meter reading either by calling the automated line on 08456 093030 or submitting their read online at www.nie.co.uk”