Power cut compensation: how to go about it?

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Did you know that you can get power cut compensation if your power cut was caused by your Distribution Network Operator (DNO)? In this post, we’ll look at your rights and entitlements when it comes to power cut compensation, and details of how to make a claim. We’ll also answer some of your most frequently asked questions about power cuts.

Last update: November 2020

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Power Cut Compensation

We are more reliant than ever on electronic and electrical appliances. Especially in an era where many of us are working from home. Electricity keeps us warm, cooks our food, lights our way, keeps us entertained and allows us to make our living space and our workspace one and the same. When we are caught in a power cut, it can be extremely frustrating and inconvenient. Not many of us know how to react to a power cut. For many of us, it can also be stressful and scary. For a few, a power cut could also be potentially life-threatening.

Can you really get compensation for power cuts?

Given that we are highly dependent on electricity to live and work, a power cut or outage can be a serious inconvenience. Fortunately, they are rarer than ever. You may be able to get compensation if you are affected by a power cut for a long period of time. However, you can only do this if the power outage is the fault of your Distributor or DNO. If you lose power due to something you have done such as tripping a fuse, severing the connection during household renovations or simply not paying your energy bill, you are not entitled to compensation.

Different kinds of power cuts and how they affect your compensation

There are two kinds of power outages. The first is a planned power outage. This is where they need to cut off your electricity supply to carry out work in your area. The second is an unplanned power outage, caused by a problem with the network.

Planned electricity power cuts

If your electricity distributor implements a planned power cut in your area, they are legally required to give you at least 2 days’ notice. As such, you will be able to claim compensation at a flat rate if:

  • They do not provide a minimum of 2 days’ notice.
  • They cut you off on any day other than the date on the notice.

Please note that you must claim within 1 month. We’ll explain how shortly.

Unplanned electricity power cuts

If the power cut is unplanned, the amount of compensation you can claim will vary. It depends on how many homes in your area are affected by the power cut, and whether or not it was caused by adverse weather conditions.

It’s important to contact your DNO as soon as possible to find out how many households have been affected. See the chart below to find out who your area’s DNO is and how to contact them.

You have up to 3 months to claim for unplanned power cuts.

How much power cut compensation can I get?

The amount you can claim depends on the length and type of power cut as well as the reason for the power outage.

If it is a planned outage about which your DNO did not inform you (or if it happened on the wrong day) you are entitled to a flat rate of £30 from your DNO. This is regardless of how long the outage lasted for.

In the event of an unplanned power cut, if less than 5,000 homes

  • £75 if the power outage lasted longer than 12 hours
  • £35 for each subsequent 12 hours

If more than 5,000 homes were affected, you are entitled to:

  • £75 if the power outage lasted longer than 24 hours
  • £35 for each following 24 hours period, up to a maximum of £300

If, however, the power cut was caused by adverse weather conditions like storms or flooding, you are entitled to the following compensation, no matter how many homes have been affected:

  • £70 if you were without power for 24 hours (48 hours in a severe storm)
  • £70 for each subsequent 12 hours, up to a maximum of £700

Please note that you cannot claim for damages such as food spoiled by a loss of fridge or freezer function.

What if I experience multiple power outages?

You are entitled to an additional £75 in compensation if you experience more than 4 power outages in 1 financial year, lasting more than 3 hours at a time. The financial year runs from 1st April to 31st March.

Power Cut Compensation

How do I claim compensation from my DNO?

If you are on your DNO’s Priority Services register, you do not need to claim for compensation. It will be paid to you automatically.

If you are not on the priority services register, contact your area’s DNO within the allotted timeframe to claim. Remember that you have 30 days for planned outages and 3 months for unplanned outages within which to claim.

Find your DNO

Region Where You Live Distribution Network Operator Contact Number
North Scotland Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks 0800 048 3515
Central and Southern Scotland SP Energy Networks 0330 1010 300
North East England and Yorkshire Northern Powergrid 0800 011 3332
North West England Electricity North West 0800 195 4141
Merseyside, Cheshire, North Wales & North Shropshire SP Energy Networks 0330 1010 300
East Midlands & West Midlands Western Power Distribution 0800 096 3080
South Wales & South West England Western Power Distribution 0800 096 3080
London, South East England & Eastern England UK Power Networks 0800 029 4285
Southern England Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks 0800 048 3516
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland Electricity Networks 03457 643 643

When and how will I get paid?

How you get paid depends on your DNO. In most cases, they will pay your energy supplier, and they in turn will credit your account accordingly.

You should get paid within 10 days of you claiming from your electricity distributor. If you are not paid within this timeframe, you can even claim an additional £30 late payment.

If there is a problem with your compensation payment, remember that you can contact the Energy Ombudsman’s Service.

What if your gas supply is cut off?

If your gas supply is cut off, you may also be entitled to compensation. Your gas transporter (the gas equivalent of a DNO) may cut off your gas temporarily while they carry out maintenance works in your area. They must give you at least 5 days’ notice if they intend to do so. As with your electricity supply, if they do not provide prior notice, or cut off your supply on the wrong day, you can claim £20 compensation if your supply is lost for more than 24 hours. You have 3 months in which to make a claim.

See the table below to find your area’s gas transporter:

Distributor Area Contact Number
Cadent Gas North West of England, West Midlands, East of England and North London 0800 389 8000
Northern Gas Networks North East of England, Northern Cumbria, and much of Yorkshire 0800 040 7766
SGN Scotland and Southern England 0800 912 1700
Wales & West Utilities Wales and the South West of England 0800 912 2999

Get the most out of your power. Switch suppliers regularly!

While switching your energy supplier doesn’t insulate you from the risk of a power cut, it can almost certainly provide you with year-long savings. Not to mention the opportunity to get greener, more renewable gas and electricity at a better price.

But scouring the market to find the best deals can be a painstaking and time-consuming exercise. That’s where we come in! We can help you to find the best deals on the market, and even manage your switch on your behalf from end-to-end. So you get cheaper energy hassle-free.

Interested?

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Power cut compensation FAQs

How long does the average power cut last?

Distribution Network Operators measure powercuts in two ways. There are Customer Interruptions (CI) and Customer Minutes Lost (CML). The average CML for most DNOs is around 30-40 minutes. Unfortunately, this is not a long enough period to be able to make a claim

How long will my freezer last in a power cut?

The good news is that most freezers will weather a power cut fairly well without you needing to worry about your frozen food spoiling. If the door remains closed, a full freezer will hold its temperature for 48 hours. A half-full freezer will hold its temperature for 24 hours. This is usually more than long enough to outlast most power outages.

What should I do to prepare for a power outage?

If you find that your power will be out for a prolonged period of time, you may want to take steps to prepare. Such as:

  • Fully charge your mobile and other devices in advance.
  • Have torches at the ready.
  • Make sure you have the means to stay warm.
  • Stock up on non-perishable foods.
  • Invest in a camp stove or portable heater.
  • Disconnect appliances and devices to protect them from the possibility of a surge.

What should you not do in a power outage?

A power outage can be scary and disorientating. But it’s important to know what not to do.

Avoid:

  • Opening the fridge or freezer
  • Leaving devices and appliances plugged in
  • Keeping your backup generator in a small, crowded space
  • Relying too much on candles.
Redactor

Written by eleanor

Updated on 25 Nov, 2020

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