Energy Customers to Get Xmas Outage Compensation

Outage energy customers to receive compensation 25805

Energy company customers that were affected by power outages in the Christmas period will receive compensation in the coming weeks.

Scottish and Southern Energy Power Distribution (SSEPD), which is operated separately from its consumer arm SSE, has pledged to pay £54 to each resident who was without electricity for 48 hours, with an extra £54 made available per 12 hour period of outage after this point.

SSEPD operates across the south-west of England and thousands of homes under its remit were plunged into darkness during the Christmas period, including Christmas Day when storms ravaged the area.

Owen Paterson, environment secretary, told the BBC, "Quite clearly some of the power companies let their customers down badly.

"It seems obvious at this stage that they let too many of their staff go away for the Christmas holiday, they didn't have enough people manning the call centres and that wasn't acceptable."

Lawmakers have now called on energy distribution companies to ensure they have enough staff to deal with similar incidents in the future.

This is a particularly pressing issue as a number of low pressure systems - some breaking century-old weather records - are forecast to sweep across the UK in the coming weeks, aided by the gulf stream.

In a statement released to the press, Mark Mathieson, managing director of SSEPD, said that no matter how much preparation went into reinforcing electricity infrastructure, the kinds of gales seen in the UK over the festive period are impossible to defend against.

"We cannot wave a magic wand when major weather events hit," Mr Mathieson concluded.

However, it is not just SSEPD that will offer compensation to customers and operators in other affected areas will likely offer similar redress or face scrutiny from the public.

Indeed, Parliament's energy select committee has called the heads of large networks in the south-west to explain how power cuts lasted so long.

By Chris Stevenson