Engineers were diverted from helping thousands of householders without power after David Cameron’s TV cut out while he was watching The Sound of Music.
Two Scottish and Southern Energy Power Distribution engineers, part of an emergency repair team, were trying to restore power to 11,000 homes in Oxfordshire when they were called out 17 miles to the PM’s £2m house in Chipping Norton – only to find it was just a tripped fuse.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4, engineers George Faulkner and Alan Paton said: “We could have been employed on better things.”
Mr Faulker added: “It didn’t need much sorting out. If he had got his minders to check the trip switch it would have saved us the journey. There was nothing wrong with his mains.”
A spokesperson for SSE said: “The Prime Minister did not receive preferential treatment when we attended his property and this visit was not to the detriment of other customers who may have been without power.”
Mr Cameron has claimed he understood the anger of families who had Christmas ruined by power cuts and floods and he has criticised the "unacceptable" time some power companies took to restore power over Christmas and New Year.
The PM has discussed his own experiences of losing power for 85 minutes as he watched The Sound of Music on New Year’s Day.
A No. 10 spokesperson, speaking to The Mirror, said: “The power went down because there was a leaky roof. There was water around the fuse box. The engineers came to fix it, which they did.”