OFGEM says no power cut compo was right decision

David Morris MP (centre) visits the Caton Road electricity substation.
David Morris MP (centre) visits the Caton Road electricity substation.

The electricity regulator has backed a decision not to pay compensation to people affected by widespread power cuts before Christmas.

OFGEM wrote to David Morris, MP for Morecambe, to say Electricity North West was right not to give 22,000 claimants any money. The regulator agreed with the power company that customers could only qualify for a payment had they been without electricity for 48 hours straight.

Mr Morris also asked why Electricity North West’s website stated that compensation could be paid after 12 hours of no supply.

OFGEM said there had been “confusion between normal and severe weather standards”.

“Under normal weather conditions, customers are entitled to a payment after 12 continuous hours of no supply; for severe weather, that time increases to 24 hours for a category 1 storm or 48 hours for a category 2 storm,” said a spokesman.

“Their website displayed details about both the normal and severe weather standards; while this may have led to a degree of uncertainty around which standard was applicable, we are satisfied that the information displayed was correct.”

OFGEM also said Storm Desmond was classed as a category 2 storm. The storm on December 5 2015 caused the Caton Road substation to flood leading to loss of power for around 55,000 customers in Lancashire, mainly in the Lancaster and Morecambe district,

Mr Morris said: “It is disappointing that OFGEM do not think that it is feasible in the future to review standards to pay compensation after 24 hours and also compensate for people who are on generator power on a sliding scale.

“Having said that it is a positive step by Electricity North West to invest £1.5m to make further improvements to the substation.”