Lost the use of gas or electricity at home? Then you could be entitled to some compensation because of your power outage.
I’m sure it’s happened to you too. You’re just about to reach the exciting part of Songs of Praise, then suddenly, wham. TV off, lights out and you’re left in the dark. You’ll never know what song they were about to belt out next.
The first thing to do is to get advice by dialling 105 and reporting your power cut.
And, if your power isn’t restored soon, you may be able to receive some money for your troubles.
Claiming compensation for a power outage depends on two main factors:
- Whether the power cut was planned
- How long the power was out for
Planned power cuts
If the power cut was planned, but you weren’t given 2 days’ notice, you can claim £30compensation. However, you must do this within one month.
Unplanned electricity cuts
£75 if the power is out for longer than 12 hours
£35 for each following 12 hour period (capped at £300 if more than 5000 home are affected).
If the cut is caused by bad weather
£70 if the electricity is out for 24 hours (48 hours for a severe storm)
£70 for each following 12 hour period (capped at £700)
Multiple power cuts
If you suffer from more than 4 power cuts in a year which last for more than 3 hours each, you can claim £75. The year runs from 1st April – 31st March.
The company responsible for connecting the gas pipes to your home must give you notice if they plan to cut off your supply. If they don’t, they need to compensate you with £30. You have 1 month to claim.
If your gas is cut off for longer than 24 hours, you will be entitled to compensation. The amount you receive will depend on the length of time you lost your supply.
If your power cut was caused by bad weather, you should receive your compensation without having to do anything.
If the cut was due to something else, you will need to make a claim through the company that manages your distribution of gas or electricity. Please note that this is not your supplier.
Remember, if you’re claiming for a planned cut, you only have 1 month to put your claim in. For any other claims, you’ll have 3 months.
Receiving the money for your power outage
You should be paid within 10 days of making your claim. If the power outage was caused by bad weather, then the time limit doesn’t apply and you will be paid as soon as is reasonable. I have no idea what counts as reasonable though…
Usually, your money will be sent to your gas or electricity company and credited to your account. However, in some cases, you may be paid directly if the gas transport or electricity distributor hold your details.
If you have a prepayment meter, there are various ways you may be paid. Some suppliers will credit your meter, whilst others may send you a cheque or vouchers.
Can I claim for losses?
Unfortunately, you cannot claim if you lose any food because your fridge or freezer has stopped working. Contact your home insurance company to see if you’re covered.
If you’re struggling claiming compensation for a power cut and you’ve been told that you aren’t eligible, complain directly to the electricity distributor or gas transporter and follow their complaints procedure. If you get nowhere, then you can contact the energy ombudsman.