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Emergency blackout helpline yet to take a single call

A 999-style emergency blackouts hotline promised in the wake of last year’s power cuts will not be up and running until 2016, The Telegraph has reported.

Energy secretary Ed Davey announced plans for the helpline after the government was accused of failing to keep the 750,000 households affected by last winter’s storms informed about what was being done to help them.

In response to a parliamentary question tabled by shadow energy secretary Caroline Flint, Department of Energy minister Matthew Hancock admitted the project to create the helpline, to be called the Single Emergency Number (SEN), would not be finished until April 2016.

In June, Mr Davey said that the project had been delayed and claimed the hold-up was being caused by European Union bureaucracy and telecoms regulator Ofcom.

Ofcom needed to approve the line, a process requiring a consultation period of at least six months.

In accordance with EU procurement rules, contracts to run the service would also have to be awarded, adding further delays, Mr Davey added.

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