Yorkshire Housing electrician Anthony Nichol won an award last week for helping an elderly customer who might have dementia.
He stayed at the man’s flat in Kirbymoorside, North Yorkshire, for more than four hours on April 11 to ensure a smart meter was repaired.
Anthony found the real problem was at the supply end – and it needed the utility supplier to make the repair.
But in talking to the man, who was in his late 70s, he appeared to be in a confused state at times.
Anthony had asked the man, who lives alone at Yorkshire Housing’s Sturdy Court sheltered housing scheme, for contact details for his son.
He said: “The customer looked at his phone, but started referring to his son by a different name from what he’d used before.
“It might just have been that he’d looked at the wrong name on his phone and got mixed up.
“But we’ve all had dementia training, so you get an idea of what to look for. I’ve also met a lot people in my time and I’m nearly retirement age myself.”
Anthony eventually spoke to the man’s son, who lives in London, and also arranged for utility supplier British Gas to attend.
But Anthony was concerned the man might forget and go to bed – meaning engineers would not be able to gain entry when they arrived.
So he stayed to ensure they were not locked out.
The man did not want Anthony to sit with him, so he stayed in his van and checked in on him periodically.
“I didn’t want him to go another night without heating or electricity,” he added.
Anthony attended at around 6pm on April 11 following an emergency call from one of Yorkshire Housing’s wardens.
There had been no gas or electricity at the customer’s flat for at least 36 hours.
One of Yorkshire Housing’s gas engineers had been there the day before and the man’s son had put £40 each on to his father’s gas and electricity meters.
But there was still no heat or light when Anthony arrived.
British Gas had not attended after three hours, so Anthony called again and was talked though a reset procedure.
He said: “The supplier was not able to communicate with this particular smart meter.
“They gave me a code to insert manually into the meter, which added the credit his son had put on.”
With the smart meter now working, British Gas cancelled their visit, only for the supply to go off again overnight.
Yorkshire Housing’s York-based operations manager Samantha Jones called British Gas on the morning of April 12.
Anthony added: “As I was working locally, I called at Sturdy Court and met with the British Gas engineer and stayed with him until the problem was resolved.”
Anthony, who has worked for Yorkshire Housing for 12 years, was honoured with a Homeworks hero award at a team meeting in York on May 14.
“I didn’t know that was coming,” Anthony said. “We just have a team meeting every couple of months and it was then that my line manager (electrical team leader Paul Roberts) produced this certificate.
“I felt proud and humbled. But up to that point I hadn’t really thought about it as I was just doing my job.”
The Homeworks hero award celebrates the work of staff who go above and beyond their duties.
Yorkshire Housing electrical compliance manager Paul Simpson said: “A true hero, Anthony could have easily completed his part of the repair and then left the property.
“But he showed true awareness for the tenant’s needs and waited with him until the issues were resolved and the electric and heating was reinstated.”