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Distribution network operator UKPN and SSE’s distribution network operator business have been ordered to pay an additional £3.3m for their unsatisfactory response to customers losing power due to by severe weather last winter. This is in addition to the £4.7m already paid out to households.
Energy regulator Ofgem has also more than doubled minimum payments to those cut off due to severe weather conditions, from £27 to £70 per day spent without power. The cap for payments to customers has also jumped to £700 – an increase of £216.
‘Companies could have done more to plan for the weather and keep customers informed’
Maxine Frerk, Ofgem’s Senior Partner for Distribution, said: “While we recognise the hard work of the companies and their staff who were out working to reconnect customers during the severe weather, the companies could have done more to plan for the weather and keep customers informed.”
Ofgem had announced plans to push for higher compensation levels for customers who found themselves disconnected from the grid back in March.
The £3.3m will be donated to organisations such as the British Red Cross.
Increase should ‘encourage firms to do everything they can to restore power as quickly as possible’
Speaking on the news, Ann Robinson, Director of Consumer Policy at uSwitch, said: “This won’t make up for the blackout Christmas suffered by so many last year, but Ofgem’s announcement means that in future consumers should get reconnected faster and kept better informed if they’re plunged into the dark.
“The increase in minimum pay-outs for homes affected by power cuts from £27 to £70 per day should encourage firms to do everything they can to restore power as quickly as possible. Being without power is particularly hard for more vulnerable households, especially if they are dependent on electricity for heating their homes.”