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Pensioner told she'll get house electrics report... in Polish

PUBLISHED: 11:05 26 August 2010 | UPDATED: 11:10 14 October 2010

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A PENSIONER who had council workmen round to check her electrics was allegedly told that she would not be able to read their report – because it would be in Polish.

A PENSIONER who had council workmen round to check her electrics was allegedly told that she would not be able to read their report - because it would be in Polish.

Retired bank worker Stella Sheen, 70, was adamant that the electrical contractors should write a report of their findings before leaving her Islington Council home in Centurion Close, Holloway.

But she was told that this would be impossible because even if they did write a report, she would not be able to read it.

Mrs Sheen said: "An electrical contractor came round last Thursday with two Polish workmen and I said, 'Before you go any further, I would like you to do a report and give me a safety certificate.

"The contractor kept saying they couldn't do that. He said I could request a copy from my local council office. He said, 'If I gave you the report, you wouldn't understand it, because it's in Polish.'

"I said to myself, 'Hang on, I don't speak Polish. English is my first language.' I felt it was just intimidating me. It's a farcical situation that you can't have a report in English."

Mrs Sheen's house is being upgraded by contractors working for Homes for Islington, the organisation that manages Islington Council's housing estates, as part of a massive borough-wide refurbishment programme.

The pensioner was hoping that if her electrics were deemed safe, she would not have to have her home rewired - which would entail unsightly new cables being run across her ceilings. The estate is so worried about having ugly wires put in their homes that they have collected a petition in protest.

Brian Potter, chairman of the Federation of Islington Tenants' Associations, said: "It's absolutely disgraceful that tenants are not being provided with electrical certification after works have been carried out before workmen leave the premises.

"If Polish workers are working in England, their reports should be in English. It's a comical situation."

An HFI spokesman said: "Our policy is that when any electrical or installation testing is done, this assessment and the resultant documentation is examined by HFI electrical engineers. Following this, a copy of the results and the certificate can be issued to the resident.

"Both the report and the certificate will be issued in English.


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