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I have heard about similar probs where on engine start up the voltage from the battery drops and the electric power steering system won't kick in. It may be a long shot but it may be worth checking all battery and earthig connections are clean and sound and also get the battery load tested and the alternator voltage output checked. Many battery suppliers will do a free battery and alternator test in the hope of a sale. I have also heard Vauxhall Corsas have suffered similar problems with their electric steering systems.
Currently in madnoel10's garage:
Honda Civic 1.4l