Oban residents left with ‘icicles on windows’ after heating failure

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Residents in Oban were left without heating or hot water on what has been the coldest week of the year.

People living behind the hospital have reported having icicles on their windows and sleeping fully clothed.

The issue was highlighted on Sunday night, but the problems were ongoing until Tuesday, when the heating was ‘back on and running’.

West Highland Housing Association has apologised for the problem and is supplying each household with a temporary heater.

The affected areas consist of those that rely on the Biomass Energy Centre, such as Rhuvaal Road.

‘It’s been a bloody nightmare,’ Jacqualine Macallister said. ‘I’m in Rhuvaal Road and I think everyone here is in the same boat.

‘I have a four-month-old baby and a two-year-old. We [were] sitting with blankets and no hot water.

‘I phoned the out-of-hours the other night at 6pm-6.30pm and was told they were on to it and had received other complaints and were getting someone out as soon as possible.

‘I phoned again at like 11.45pm and spoke to a woman who said it most probably hadn’t been fixed because they are really busy.’

Ms Macallister then took to social media to vent her frustrations.

‘WHHA then phoned the next day as someone had saw my Facebook post and said they were really sorry and they can’t leave us freezing and they were on to it,’ the mother-of-two said.

‘But by say noon-1pm [on Monday] I phoned back and said you need to do something.

‘Again they apologised and said they had everyone complaining and it was getting sorted and if it wasn’t they would deliver heaters.

‘It then came back on but the annoying thing is when the heating goes off, as it’s under-floor heating it eats your credit trying to heat it back up again.

‘All was good then I went to bath the kids [on Monday night] at 8pm and hot water had gone again.

‘And it was same for others on the road as well. It’s back today but will it last is the question.

‘It affected quite a lot of us behind the hospital. People are saying it’s this new heating system – it’s not coping with cold weather.

‘They changed it all a few months back and there’s been nothing but problems since.’

Another resident, who wished to remain anonymous, said: ‘Every year mine goes off. It’s so frustrating.

‘My whole family are sleeping in our clothes and quilts and there were icicles on my windows.’

A spokesperson for WHHA said: ‘The heating system is back on and running.

‘It is a new system installed this summer, so it’s had teething problems.’

They added: ‘Keeping our tenants warm in this weather is a priority.’

The association also issued a statement on its Facebook page.

‘Earlier this year we replaced our Biomass Energy Centre at Glenshellach,’ it wrote.

‘As you know over the past couple of days there have been issues with the system which has resulted in the loss of heating and hot water to some of our properties.

‘We want to apologise for any problems or inconvenience you have recently experienced with the heating and hot water system.

‘We have treated these repairs as a priority and engineers have been onsite over the last couple of days to overcome these problems.

‘Due to the time of year, we are supplying each household with a temporary heater just to ensure that you have a source of heat in the unlikely event that further problems with the new boiler arise. We will collect the heater in January 2018 once the festive period is over.

‘If you do experience further problems with your heating and hot water, please can you contact our office on 01631 566451 and we will resolve the issue as quickly as possible.’