Three-month maximum wait for power cut compo after 22,000 claims

Customers in the Royal Bar, Morecambe, during the blackout on December 6.
Customers in the Royal Bar, Morecambe, during the blackout on December 6.

Customers may have to wait three months for compensation payments after the recent power cuts.

Electricity North West has set up a ‘goodwill payment task force’ after being inundated with 22,000 claims from people who lost supply during the bad weather in December.

A spokesman for Electricity North West said: “The team will respond to the applications that have been received so far and proactively contact those customers known to have been impacted in line with the standards. We expect to begin making payments to eligible customers later this month and this process will be completed within three months.”

Electricity North West’s terms and conditions state they have to restore supply within a certain time period during large-scale weather events. This period is not stipulated, though, as it is calculated using a formula based on the number of customers affected.

Customers could receive £70 and a further £70 for each additional 12 hours they were without supply, up to a maximum of £700.

The spokesman said: “Engineers from Electricity North West worked night and day to restore power to 55,000 customers in Lancaster (district) and a further 13,000 in Cumbria who lost their power due to severe flooding during Storm Desmond.

“A month’s worth of rain fell in the region in just 24 hours causing widespread disruption and severe floods at electricity substations despite £13m investment in flood defences since 2007 at 51 key sites, including £500,000 at Lancaster.

Flood defences at Carlisle and Kendal protected supplies to 110,000 properties and more than 70 generators were installed to keep the lights on for more than 23,000 customers in Lancaster.

“In Lancaster engineers completed three months’ worth of work in just three days and Electricity North West provided 22,000 people with hot food and drink in areas affected by the floods.

“Our focus was on ensuring that our customers can get back into homes with a safe, reliable power supply. Compensation payments will be made in line with the severe weather event guaranteed standards set for electricity network companies.”