RESIDENTS are counting the cost of a power surge which has blown up electrical equipment and started fires.

Electricity North West said 450 homes in the Shear Brow area of Blackburn were affected by a high current at 10am on Monday because of a fault in a substation in Randal Street.

Those affected have been offered a £300 payment as ‘a goodwill gesture’ to cover insurance excess costs.

But residents say the money is not enough, and does not reflect the inconvenience they have suffered.

Inkerman Street resident Yunus Malek, 59 said he had lost 15 appliances including his freezer, Sky box and two DVD players.

At Bicknell Street Mosque, where 400 people regularly attend, four boilers are out of order after a £700 component blew, the lift has stopped and TV and clocks are broken.

Caretaker Ibrahim Asmal, 60, called in his own engineers after Electricity North West said they couldn’t carry out the repairs for three days.

Mum-of-four Farna Patel, 43, of Willoughby Street, lost all power to her kitchen appliances and has had to throw away £400 of frozen food.

She said: “All of a sudden the lightbulbs started exploding and falling to the floor. Everything has fused and some items have completely melted and split open.”

Blackburn with Darwen Council set up a drop-in help centre at Bank Top Centre, Oakenhouse Road, and the area’s MP Jack Straw set up an emergency meeting with residents.

An ENW spokesman apologised for the fault and assured customers they were doing everything to assist them.

He said the firm has no obligation to repair appliances or offer compensation, but was doing what it could and offering a goodwill payment to help cover the excess on home insurance.

Affected customers can call the ENW helpline on 0800 195 4141.