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Power companies could face bigger fines after Storm Arwen outages

04 Dec 2021 2 minutes Read
Picture by Leonard Bentley (CC BY-SA 2.0).

The energy regulator Ofgem has said that companies could face bigger fines in future after long outages in Wales, Scotland and parts of England following Storm Arwen this time last week.

Scottish Power Energy Networks at one point saw more than 20,000 customers without power in the area it covers, which includes Scotland, Cheshire and north and mid-Wales.

1,600 properties in Wales remained without power two days after the storm, the company said. More than 30,000 households were without power in Wales at one point last Saturday.

Power regulator Ofgem has said it will now allow those affected by outages to claim £70 for each 12-hour period they are left without power after an initial £70 for the first 48 hours.

Previously households left without electricity are currently allowed to claim £140 a day in compensation from their local energy network company for up to five days. The regulator has now called on the companies to scrap the £700 limit.

In a statement Jonathan Brearley, the chief executive at Ofgem, said he understood it had been “a really worrying time for people who are without heat and power ” due to Storm Arwen.

“We accept the network companies have been working in challenging conditions but until every home in Britain has power restored that relentless effort must continue,” he said.

He added: “We have strict rules on how network companies need to operate in these circumstances and we will take action if needed. We want to see if there are things that the industry could learn from this response to improve our support to consumers in the future.”

Scottish Power Energy Networks said power had been restored to more than a hundred thousand customers since Storm Arwen caused what its managing director, Chris Burchell, described as “catastrophic damage to the electricity network”.

Storm Arwen, described as a “once in a lifetime event” by the Scottish Government, comes after Storm Dennis – described as “extreme” and “exceptional” by Rhondda Cynon Taf Council – caused widespread flooding damage in Wales last year.

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