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Can I claim compensation from a power cut?

Storms Eunice and Franklin have caused disruption across Britain in recent days and it’s likely the compensation bill from damage will be extensive.

With this has come large power outages over the weekend.  Around 83,000 customers were still powerless on Sunday morning and 1.3 million were without power for a prolonged spell during the storm.

You might be eligible for compensation if your power was down. We explain your rights. 

If you suffered a power outage during Storm Eunice for more than 48 hours, you could be entitled to up to £700 in compensation

Who is entitled to compensation?  

If you have been without power for more than 48 hours, you are eligible for compensation according to the Guaranteed Standards of Service.

The service, which is set by the energy regulator Ofgem, means that households are entitled up to £70 in payment, with an additional £70 for every 12 hours if your power continues to be affected.

This is then capped at £700 after the initial 48 hour period. For example, if you are without power for the initial 48 hours, and an additional 108 hours, or 4.5 days, then you would be entitled to the maximum £700. 

If you have been forced out of your home due to the storm and lack of power then you should contact your energy network provider to discuss your options. 

You are not automatically entitled to a hotel stay if you are not able to stay in your home during a storm, however, your provider will be able to offer your additional compensation on a case-by-case basis, so it is vital to check – especially if you have a long family and/or it’s in a cold spell. 

How can I claim compensation? 

Keeping food fresh during a power cut 

1. Keep fridge and freezer doors closed during a power cut. 

2. Food remains fresh up to four hours in a refrigerator, 48 hours in a full freezer, and 24 hours in a half freezer. 

3. Meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, cheese, and milk should be tossed if their temperature is at 4 °C or above for more than two hours.

4. Layer your food with ice blocks and if possible, add to a cold bag. 

Source: Food Safety 

The electricity network operator is responsible for issuing compensation as opposed to your supplier. 

You should contact your energy supplier who will be able to tell you who to contact to receive your compensation, though you do not need to contact your supplier if you know which network operator is responsible for your power. 

Companies hit by power outages should contact those affected directly to discuss the next steps in their compensation, either by SMS, email or a letter.

Meanwhile, according to the Citizens Advice Bureau, this compensation should be paid within 10 working days, and if it is not, you should receive a further £30.

If you feel as though you are entitled to compensation, but the network has not been in touch then you have three months to contact it to discuss your case. 

Anyone who is not paid automatically should contact their network operator within three months.  

Unfortunately you won’t be able to make a claim for any lost food or time working during a power cut, as the capped £700 compensation is expected to cover those costs. 

Some food can last for up to six hours in a fridge or freezer once the power has been cut, though you should keep the doors of your fridge and freezer closed to preserve your food for as long as possible. 

If your home suffered damage during the storm, you should be able to make a claim on your home insurance to cover the cost of repairs

If your home suffered damage during the storm, you should be able to make a claim on your home insurance to cover the cost of repairs

Can I make a claim on my home insurance?

It’s probable that you can make a claim on your home insurance if your property sustained damage during the storm but that will depend on the cover you have, and the finer detail in the terms and conditions.

It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to claim any compensation for power outages through your home insurance – although you might be able to for spoilt food. Additionally, if you can claim, the excess might be too high to proceed anyway. 

Here’s what to check on your policy for fridge freezer problems. 

Most home insurance policies come with building and contents insurance against storm damage, though different providers will have their own standards for what constitutes ‘bad weather’. 

The Financial Ombudsman defines a storm as something that “generally involves violent winds, usually accompanied by rain, hail or snow” but this can vary significantly so it’s worth checking your policy’s T&Cs. 

In lesser weather, they may argue against claims citing things like wind speeds.  

If your water supply is interrupted by an emergency, you could be entitled to compensation of £20 for the first 24 hours and £10 for each further period without water.

But there are still some exceptions, including ‘exceptional weather’, which means you may not be able to make a claim if you were without water during storm Eunice.

If you were without water you should contact your provider directly to see if you are entitled to compensation.  

If your broadband stopped working then you simply need to report it to your provider to receive compensation.  

Your broadband provider should be in touch with you directly if you are entitled to compensation and it should be issued as a credit on your bill no later than 30 days after the issue occurred. 

You should receive £8 if the service is still down two full working days after you report it, and then £8 for each day afterwards.     

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