Northern Powergrid has been forced to apologise to dozens of customers after accidentally issuing compensation cheques for £2.3 trillion.
Following the aftermath of the “once in a generation” Storm Arwen – which back in late November and early December, left thousands of homes in the north of England and widespread parts of Scotland without any electricity during some of the oldest months of the year – Northern Powergrid is currently in the process of paying compensation to tens of thousands of customers who suffered power outages.
But it didn’t all go to plan for the energy distributor.
In a now-viral tweet, one customer took to social media to share a picture of a compensation cheque showing the eye-watering sum of £2.3 trillion, and asked if the company are “100% certain you can afford this?”.
Cheque recipient Gareth Hughes wrote on Twitter over the weekend: “Thank you for our compensation payment Northern Powergrid for the several days we were without power following Storm Arwen.
“Before I bank the cheque however, are you 100% certain you can afford this?”
“I knew straight away it wouldn’t be honoured, but it was nice to dream for a couple of minutes,” he comically added.
Within hours of sharing the photo of the hilarious mistake, the tweet went onto amass tens of thousands of likes, retweets, and comments from people unable to believe the situation had happened, wishing they’d got a cheque with that sum too, and telling Mr Hughes they “so would have banked it” if it was them.
It turns out that Mr Hughes wasn’t the only one to have received a cheque with an accidentally-inflated sum though, as other people have since come forward to say the same happened to them, and the energy supplier has also confirmed that 74 of its customers had been given compensation cheques with an incorrect payment amount.
The company thanked those who were “honest” about the error.
After the tweet went viral, Northern Powergrid were forced to reply to Mr Hughes to apologise for the incident, explaining: “Thanks for bringing this to our attention. Please DM us your contact details including address and postcode so we can correct this oversight.
In response to another customer in the same position, who called the company out for its “staggering level of incompetence”, Northern Powergrid said: “There have been some cheques issued with the incorrect amount for which we are sorry [and] our team are going to re issue the correct cheques early next week.”
They also asked for the customer to confirm their details so that the situation “can be processed as quickly as possible.”
A spokesperson for Northern Powergrid said following the incident: “As soon as we identified the clerical error, which was caused by the electricity meter reference number being incorrectly quoted as the payment sum, we ensured all 74 customers’ cheques were stopped so they could not be cashed.
“We have been investigating how this error happened and carrying out checks of previous payments.
“All indications are that this was an isolated incident.
“We thank those customers who were honest and contacted us and we have been making contact directly over the weekend with all 74 customers affected to make them aware, apologise for the error and reassure them that a correct payment will be issued to them on Monday.”
Featured Image – Wikipedia Commons
Unexpected Manchester city centre street named ‘one of the most polluted’ in the UK
A new fieldwork study has revealed the worst air polluted city centre streets in the UK, and a popular Manchester thoroughfare has been named one of the worst.
Except, it’s really not the street you’d expect it to be.
For some bizarre reason, despite the fact it’s a pedestrianised commercial shopping street in the heart of Manchester city centre, Market Street has been named one of the most polluted streets in the country.
Recordings were taken at high streets in the 25 largest towns and cities in the country over a two-week period, and the results found that 76% are exceeding the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) recommended annual level of air pollution, The Hoot reports.
The study enlisted a planning consultancy to collect samples using an air quality monitoring device at 11am on either a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday to ensure as much comparability as possible between the locations.
The study comes after a poll of 2,000 adults found that 36% have concerns over the health of the community due to air pollution, or the health of their family (26%) or themselves (25%).
Speaking on the shocking findings from the new study, Sam Clarke, who is the chief vehicle officer at the sustainable energy business, said: “With millions set to hit the high street this festive period, we wanted to look at the state of the nation’s air quality in the locations people will be doing most of their Christmas shopping.
“It’s shocking to see that so many were above the World Health Organisation’s annual recommendations for air pollution, and that one in 10 shoppers are even planning on foregoing the highstreets altogether due to air quality.”
20 streets in the UK were over the recommended World Health Organisation recommended levels of 5 µg/m3).
The Most-Polluted Streets in the UK
Stoke-On-Trent (Parliament Street) – 11.7
Newcastle (Northumberland Street) – 11.5
Leicester (Gallowtree Gate) – 11.2
Coventry (West Orchards Way) – 11.1
Hull (Jameston Street) – 10.7
Bradford (Broadway) – 10.6
Southampton (Above Bar Street) – 8.8
Nottingham (High Street) – 7.7
Luton (George Street) – 7.6
Manchester (Market Street) – 7.6
Northampton (Abington Street) – 7.3
Birmingham New Street – 7.3
Liverpool (Church Street) – 7.1
Derby (St Peter’s Street) – 6.9
London (Oxford Street) – 6.8
Sheffield (Fargate) – 6.3
Brighton (Western Road) – 5.6
Leeds (Briggate) – 5.3
Portsmouth (Commercial Road) – 5.1
“If we’re to reach the World Health Organisation’s annual target of 5 µg/m3 of PM2.5 in our air, collectively we need to change our behaviours,” Sam Clarke added.
“With vehicle emissions being a key contributor, anything we can do to travel more greenly, from walking more to cycling, and including electric vehicles, is a very valuable set forward to improve the air we breathe daily.”
Although born in London to Irish parents, she moved to Manchester at the age of two, was raised in Wythenshawe, went to school in West Didsbury, and kick-started her illustrious and hugely-influential career on the city’s comedy circuit by performing as a collection of characters, all before developing the iconic ‘Mrs Merton’.
Aherne developed her Mrs Merton character with Frank Sidebottom for his show on Piccadilly Radio, where she worked as a receptionist.
She made a number of television appearances as the hilarious character, before rising to prominence in 1994 with the mock chat show The Mrs Merton Show, where she was known for asking celebrity guests a series of outrageous fake questions – the most-memorable example being to the wife of magician Paul Daniels, Debbie McGee, asking: “So, what first attracted you to the millionaire Paul Daniels?”.
Aside from the Mrs Merton character, Aherne was known for appearing on BBC comedy sketch programme, The Fast Show, and then cemented her place in the heart of us Mancunians when she co-wrote and starred as Denise in beloved Manchester-based sitcom, The Royle Family.
The Royle Family ran for three series from 1998 to 2000, and was a largely stereotypical portrayal of working-class family life at the turn of the millennium, with almost all of the episodes taking place in the Royles’ telly-centric living room and showing the hilarious conversations they’d have.
Both before and after her sad death in July 2016, Caroline amassed a loyal fanbase, so it’s only right that we properly celebrate her legacy, right? Well that’s exactly what BBC Two is doing this ChristmasDay from 9pm, with the airing of a brand-new TV special, as well as lots of other programmes dedicated to the late legend and all she is loved for.
The 80-minute documentary is described by the BBC as being a “celebration of the unique life and talent of Caroline Aherne”.
Titled Caroline Aherne: Queen of Comedy, it will feature unseen photographs and contributions from a cast of her lifelong friends – including Steve Coogan, Jon Thompson, Craig Cash, and producer Andy Harries.
Caroline Aherne: Queen of Comedy will air on BBC Two at 10:25pm on Christmas Day (25 December), and will be available to stream on BBC iPlayer shortly after.
This new TV special also follows BBC Two’s re-run of The Royle Family’s classic Christmas episode – which is titled ‘Christmas With The Royle Family’, and first aired back in December 1999 – a little earlier in the evening at 9:15pm.
It’ll also be on after a 15-minute long moment of reflection from Ricky Tomlinson at 9pm too.
According to the BBC, Ricky – who, of course, is most famous for his role as the Royle Family’s patriarch, Jim Royle – will sit back in his iconic chair and take a fond look back at the much-loved comedy series, sharing his memories and experiences working with Caroline Aherne.