Tipton clock can keep on ticking

The village can keep ticking after residents and their MP managed to save the village clock from being switched off.

As reported in the Herald in March, Tipton St John Residents Association had been stung for a bill 10 times the normal cost to run the Jubilee Clock.

But after the group got in touch with local MP Hugo Swire, EDF Energy have agreed this month to drop the charge of more than �200, billed as a standing charge for having an unmetered electricity supply.

Mr Swire said: “They got in touch and it was clearly a ludicrous amount they had to pay, they were the victim of an anomaly and I was pleased to be able to help a group of my constituents.”

Treasurer of the Tipton residents Bill Bolt received a bill for �268, nearly half the annual income for the association, when the cost is usually around �25. He was worried the clock would have to be switched off after the supplier refused to waive the charge, which EDF said was to cover costs they incurred such as maintenance and cabling.

Despite acknowledging the charge was far in excess the amount of energy the clock used, and the blanket amount to all unmetered electricity supplies was unfair to those with a small current, it took Mr Swire’s intervention to get them to drop it. The Member of Parliament for East Devon added: “You often find when a Member of Parliament gets involved they can get things moving, and are able to cut through the red tape which seems to surround these things. Where there is something I can help an organisation with I’m glad to step in and do what I can, I’m just glad this has all come to a satisfactory conclusion.”

Bill added: “We are very grateful to Mr Swire for his intervention, as the money we don’t have to pay can go to something like a grit bin for the village, maybe we’ll name it in his honour!”

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And a second piece of good news for time-keepers in Tipton is Devon County Council have agreed to help take on the cost of the clock later this year.

Part of the agreement with EDF Energy to drop the outstanding charges with the Residents Association was that DCC take over the contract to pay for the clock.

And earlier this month the Street Lighting team wrote to treasurer Bill Bolt to say from November onwards they would incorporate the fee into the cost of its streetlamps, then bill the residents association for the electricity and approximately �15 in administration costs, well below the potential cost of staying with the utilities provider.

Bill said: “Everybody’s very pleased with the outcome; it means the future of the clock is secure now, and we very thankful to Devon County Council for that.”