Homes which spend days without power as a result of extreme weather conditions, will be given increased compensation payments thanks to new reforms being implemented by energy regulator Ofgem.
The new initiative has been launched following the slow response time of certain energy companies, in terms of reconnecting customers who lost power during storms over Christmas.
Energy companies to pay £10m to homes cut off from energy supply
Energy companies involved in the Christmas power outage will be paying out £10m to affected customers. Of this figure, £2m was paid due to industry regulations and £7.5m was volunteered by SSE and UKPN, following much criticism around their response times.
As it stands, customers cut off from power for reasons linked to weather conditions, for a full 48 hours, are entitled to £27 compensation. Each subsequent 12 hours without power results in an additional £27 payment. The maximum amount payable is £216.
Ofgem has said it plans to increase the mandatory payment, particularly for customers without power for an extended period. The regulator has yet to announce figures.
During the Christmas period, approximately 16,000 homes were left without power for more than two days. A further 500 homes, based in areas supplied by SSE and UKPN, found themselves without energy for more than five days.
Many households put on hold
Customer enquiries were also not handled in a way which satisfied the energy regulator, with many households being put on hold for so long they gave up trying to reach a representative.
Senior Partner at Ofgem Hannah Nixon said: “Whilst we recognise the hard work of the [energy companies’] operational staff during the severe weather over Christmas 2013, we are very concerned with the variations in the effect of the storms on customers in different areas.”
The regulator added that: “One in five callers in UKPN and SSE Southern regions decided to hang up before speaking to an adviser whilst Western Power Distribution answered calls almost immediately.”