If your lights go out or your gas fails, it’s not just in an inconvenience. It could be costly, ruining the food in your freezer, disrupting work, possibly forcing your family to decamp to a warm hotel for the night.
Luckily, in some instances if your gas and electricity fails, you’re entitled to compensation from your electricity distribution or gas transportation network. Whether you can claim power cut compensation and how much money you’ll receive depends on what caused the power cut, if it was planned, and how long it lasted. You’ll receive a flat payment, rather than remuneration for a specific loss, generally delivered to your energy supplier and credited to your account.
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You can claim compensation for a power outage if it’s the fault of your electricity distributor or gas transporter.
You won’t be eligible to claim if the fault lies downstream, within your own home, such as if home improvement works disrupted your power supply or damaged pipes or wires; a fuse tripped; or you failed to pay for your energy bills.
The power outage compensation scheme is offered by network distribution operators in line with Quality of Service Guaranteed Standards set out by the energy market regulator Ofgem.
If the electricity outage is planned, for example due to major works on the network, the distributor must give you at least two days’ notice. If they fail to do so, you’re entitled to £30, which you must claim within 30 days of the outage.
If the electricity cut is unplanned, your entitlement to compensation and its level will depend on the cause of the outage and how many homes were impacted.
If the outage is due to a fault with the network, you’re entitled to compensation if your power is out for more than 12 hours.
If fewer than 5,000 household are affected, you’ll receive
If more than 5,000 homes are affected, homes will receive the same, up to a maximum of £300 per household.
If the electricity is due to a storm or any other adverse weather conditions, households can claim:
The maximum you can claim in the event of a storm is £700.
You can also receive an extra £75 in compensation if your electricity is off more than four times in a year, for at least three hours each time. The ‘year’ runs from 1 April to 31 March.
If the gas cut is planned, your gas transporter must give you five days’ notice. If they fail to provide this notice, you can claim £30, but must file for it within 30 days of the outage.
If the outage is unplanned, you’re entitled to £30 for every 24-hour period after the initial 24 hours you’ve been without gas.
If you’re on the Priority Services Register (PSR), the list of energy consumers who may require more help from suppliers, maintained by suppliers and network operators, the firm must supply you with alternative cooking and heating facilities in the event of a gas outage.
If the outage was caused by bad weather or you’re on your supplier’s Priority Services Register, you should be paid compensation without having to make a claim.
You can sign up for the Priority Services Register if you:
If you don’t automatically receive the compensation you believe you’re entitled to, you may need to file a claim.
If the power cut was caused by anything other than a storm and you’re not on the Priority Services Register, you’ll need to claim for it. To do so, you’ll need to contact the company that handles the distribution of gas or electricity in your area. These distribution network operators (DNOs) are the companies which run and maintain the electrical wires and gas pipes which deliver energy to your home.
Note: these companies are different from your energy suppliers, the companies you selected through an energy comparison and which send you monthly bills. Your personal gas and electricity suppliers don’t have authority over the network infrastructure.
The distribution company will typically send the payment you’re owed to your electricity or gas supplier, who will then credit it to your account. It may also be possible for the network to pay you directly.
If you use a prepayment meter, the way you’ll be paid will depend on your energy supplier. Some suppliers will directly credit your meter while others will send you cheques or vouchers for the amount you’re owed.
You should receive your power cut compensation within 10 days of claiming it or, if you’re entitled to automatic compensation, within 10 days of the power being restored. If you’re not paid within these timeframes, you can claim a further £30 in compensation. However, these timescales do not apply if the outage was caused by adverse weather. In those cases, you will be paid as soon as is reasonable.
To claim for an electricity outage, you will need to contact your local electricity distributor. Claims must be filed within three months of your service being restored, or within one month if the claim is for failure to provide proper notice for a planned disruption.
The following is a list of the electricity DNOs by region in the UK and their contact information:
|Region||Electricity Distributor||Contact number||Website|
|North Scotland||Scottish & Southern Electricity (SSE) Power Distribution||0800 048 3516||www.ssen.co.uk|
|Central and Southern Scotland||SP Energy Networks||0800 092 9290||www.spenergynetworks.co.uk|
|North East England||Northern Powergrid||0800 66 88 77||www.northernpowergrid.com|
|North West England||Electricity North West||0800 195 4141||www.enwl.co.uk|
|Yorkshire & North Lincolnshire||Northern Powergrid||0800 375 675||www.northernpowergrid.com|
|Merseyside, Cheshire, North Wales and North Shropshire||SP Energy Networks||0800 001 5400||www.spenergynetworks.co.uk|
|East Midlands, West Midlands, South Wales & South West England||Western Power Distribution||0800 6783 105||www.westernpower.co.uk|
|Eastern England||UK Power Networks||0800 029 4285||www.ukpowernetworks.co.uk|
|Southern England||SSE Power Distribution||0800 048 3516||www.ssen.co.uk|
|London||UK Power Networks||0800 029 4285||www.ukpowernetworks.co.uk|
|South East England||UK Power Networks||0800 029 4285||www.ukpowernetworks.co.uk|
|Northern Ireland||Northern Ireland Electricity||03457 643 643||www.nienetworks.co.uk|
For gas, you will need to contact your local gas transporter.
The following is a list of the gas distribution networks (GDNs) by region in the UK and their contact information:
|Region||Gas Transporter||Contact number||Website|
|Scotland||SGN||0800 912 1700||www.sgn.co.uk|
|North West England||Cadent Gas||0800 389 8000||www.cadentgas.com|
|North East England (including Yorkshire and North Cumbria)||Northern Gas Networks||0800 040 7766||www.northerngasnetworks.co.uk/|
|West Midlands||Cadent Gas||0800 389 8000||www.cadentgas.com|
|East of England||Cadent Gas||0800 389 8000||www.cadentgas.com|
|Wales and West||Wales & West Utilities||0800 912 2999||www.wwutilities.co.uk|
|North London||Cadent Gas||0800 389 8000||www.cadentgas.com|
|South England, including South London||SGN||0800 912 1700||www.sgn.co.uk|