"We had a laugh about it" - Hebden Bridge man accidentally receives cheque for more than £2.3 trillion from Northern Powergrid in compensation for Storm Arwen

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A Hebden Bridge resident was given a shock when he received a cheque for more than £2.3 trillion.

Gareth Hughes, an accountant who lives in Old Town, was one of tens of thousands of Northern Powergrid customers who were left without power when Storm Arwen swept across the UK last November.

Compensation is being paid to them by Northern Powergrid, but they have apologised to 74 of their customers after they were accidentally posted cheques with astronomical amounts of money on them.

Gareth, 44, was given a cheque for £2,324,252,080,110.

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Gareth Hughes. Photo: www.hughesphoto.co.ukGareth Hughes. Photo: www.hughesphoto.co.uk
Gareth Hughes. Photo: www.hughesphoto.co.uk

"We knew we were going to get some compensation after Storm Arwen, we'd had an interim cheque sent out to us so we were awaiting another one," he said.

"Cheque turned up Saturday morning, opened the post, looked at it and just laughed because it was for a rather large amount!

"My wife was with me as I was opening the post, so we had a laugh about it.

"We pondered whether we should try and bank it and see how long it would take to come back with a notification it had bounced.

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"Or should we just ring Northern Powergrid up, but then I decided to stick it on Twitter because it's an easy way to contact them, and give a few people a laugh if anybody happens to see it."

Gareth's tweet about the cheque has received more than 55,000 likes and over 6,000 retweets.

"It's generally been fairly light-hearted comments that I've seen on it," he said.

"Lots of comments on Twitter. I've posted it on Facebook as part of our local community group and people here have been having a laugh about it.

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"That's how I identified that there were at least seven or eight other people in the vicinity that had cheques for similar values all on the same day.

"One of my university friends who now lives in New Zealand sent me a message to say I'd just been on their lunchtime news, so it's clearly travelling."

Gareth said he was expecting to receive the correct cheque, for around £280, this week.

"They replied quite quickly to me saying they were aware there was a problem and that new cheques would be getting issued.

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"They have called apologising for the error and saying cheques would get posted out.

"I'll keep it, it's a good keepsake of something that spiralled into something far bigger than I ever imagined, and there's been quite a bit of entertainment over it over the last couple of days."

A spokeswoman for Northern Powergrid said: “We have corrected an administration error that affected a small number of cheques and we are continuing to process the remaining payments as fast as we can.”

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