COMMONS

Fine firms who fail to fix power cuts quickly

10 February 2014

The Energy and Climate Change Committee Chair, Tim Yeo MP, has written to the Energy Secretary calling on the Government to consider a direct financial penalty for Distribution Network Operators which fail to restore power to customers within a stated time frame

Mr Yeo also raises concerns about the ‘grossly inadequate’ statutory level of compensation customers are entitled to after a long power cut and the poor communication some customers received during the black outs.

The letter calls on Government to:

  • Ensure Distribution Network Operators and the Energy Networks Association commit to introducing an emergency 999-style number for affected customers with a timetable set out by the end of the year
  • Reduce the time a customer is off supply under severe weather conditions before becoming eligible for a compensation payment.
  • Increase the minimum statutory compensation that customers who experience long power cuts are entitled to.

The Chair of the Energy and Climate Change Committee, Tim Yeo MP said:

“We pay tribute to the front line staff who had to give up their own holiday plans to help restore power supplies to customers cut off over Christmas. And it is important to note that some companies restored power relatively rapidly.”

“Nevertheless, we were shocked by the extraordinary complacency shown by the management of some of the power networks when they appeared before us in Parliament.”

“It is absolutely unacceptable for people to be without power for six days. In many cases the inconvenience and distress suffered by customers was aggravated by the inadequate or inaccurate information being given by the companies."

"More effective scrutiny by Ofgem of these companies is needed. If they do not recognise this then I believe the Government needs to take action with the threat of fines.”

Further information

Image: iStockphoto

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