HYDRO-ELECTRIC told the owner of a holiday home in Orkney that he

should consider buying a generator because it would cost #800,000 to lay

a mains supply to his property.

Mr Paul Craig, from Burston, Staffordshire, had dreamt of owning his

own lighthouse since he was a boy. His dream came true two years ago

when he bought the former keepers' home, which he uses as a holiday

home, on the uninhabited island of Copinsay.

''When we went out there recently, it was so cold it was like a

tomb,'' he said. ''What I wanted to do was put in storage heaters I

could leave on to keep it warm.

''I went to Hydro-Electric to see if they could hook it up to the

mains. I didn't expect it to be cheap -- but I was shocked, stunned, and

totally gobsmacked when I opened their letter and found out they wanted

close on one million pounds.''

In a letter to Mr Craig, the company said that a submarine cable would

have to be laid from Orkney to the skerry of Corn Holm, and an overhead

power line to the lighthouse on Copinsay.

''The cost of the work involved would be about #800,000,'' the company

said. It added that he would have to provide transport and insurance for

both men and materials, and suggested that he explore the possibility of

an alternative source of supply, such as a diesel generator.

''When you consider the profits they make it should be company policy

to supply anyone where ever they live at a reasonable cost,'' said Mr


Hydro-Electric's district engineering manager for Orkney, Mr Phil

White, said: ''It would be a phenomenally expensive job -- the

high-voltage submarine cable alone would be around 4000 metres long.

''Our operating licence doesn't allow us to subsidise connections to

remote places from our other customers. Even if it did it would be

unfair to expect them to subsidise the provision of such an expensive

supply so, therefore, we have to look for a large contribution from the

potential customer.''