MOVES by the Electricity Authority (EAC) to connect families in a housing complex in Paphos to a mains power supply for the first time in two years might ironically leave a 73-year-old pensioner with no power at all.
John Rowles, a former British Army serviceman, has been living with two other families in an unfinished complex of 50 properties in Marathounta. They have all been reliant on an expensive and noisy generator which only runs for part of the day. Two additional families living in the misnamed Paradise Hills recently returned to Britain because they could not bear their living conditions which also include no sewerage system, unfinished roads and rapidly decaying uncompleted properties. The site’s Paphos-based property developer, MDB properties, is in the hands of the administrators and its managing director is believed to have fled the island.
Paradise Hills is what Britons call a “ghost estate” – an unfinished housing development abandoned due to the economic downturn.
Following a story in the Cyprus Mail last month, the EAC belatedly stepped in to help residents follow the correct procedures so that they could be issued with a mains supply.
But Rowles has been told that he lives just that bit too far away from his neighbours to be included and that only his fellow residents will have access to power.
“This means I won’t have any electricity soon, as at present my neighbours and I split the cost of the generator – about €800 a month – between us. I can’t afford that sort of payment on my own,” he said.
The EAC will not provide mains electricity on a property until an electrician has submitted plans of the electrical installations for inspection and approval, which never happened in the case of Paradise Hills. Unbeknown to the residents, the developer provided only a temporary mains supply – which the EAC provides for construction purposes – when residents first moved in two years ago, but this was cut by the EAC a month later once they realised the project had not been finished.
The EAC have now put residents in touch with an electrician who is finalising connection to the mains, but when Rowles spoke to an EAC official about his case he discovered that his own connection was in doubt. “He took a sharp intake of breath when I explained that I lived in a different area of the site from my neighbours,” said Rowles. Rowles explained that Paradise Hills is constructed in three blocks, one comprising villas, one town houses and one apartments.
“I have been led to understand that because I live in the apartment block, which is a street away from my neighbours who are living in houses, that there isn’t a mains cable laid which can be used to connect me,” he said.
Rowles added that the electrician will be meeting him at the site in a couple of days to see if a solution could be found.
“I’m very worried that I may be in a far worse position in a few days, with no electricity supply at all, but I am trying to stay positive,” he said.
For the few remaining permanent residents of the complex the lack of electricity is much more than mere inconvenience. Resident Lance Hames, a 52-year-old security guard, pointed out that as there is no mains electricity, the sewer system does not work, which he fears poses “a serious health risk“.
The road into the village has yet to be completed – residents rely on one small track – and serious cracks have started to appear in many of the uncompleted properties.
Hames and his beautician wife Tracey are particularly bitter because they looked at numerous properties in Cyprus before deciding on one in Paradise Hills.
“We were aware that there were problems connected with buying in Cyprus and we did everything we could have.”
The couple paid their last instalment just a few months before MDB went into administration. They are understandably frustrated at the amount of time it is taking to sort out the legalities. The residents’ plight should receive greater publicity next week when the British TV network ITV arrives to report on the issue for their popular series ‘Homes from Hell’
For Rowles having a mains electricty supply before Christmas would be the ‘best gift’ he could receive and would give him a quality of life which he hasn’t experienced for months.
“Even normal things which everyone takes for granted go out the window when you have to live like we do,” he explained. “It would be really wonderful to have electricity and make my flat feel like a real home.”