Storm Arwen was a Category 2 storm, which means that after 48 hours, customers were able to receive £70, with a further £70 for each additional 12 hours the electricity supply was off. This is normally capped at £700 (5 days), but on 3rd December, Ofgem suspended the £700 limit.
This compensation is partly an apology for the disruption, but it is also intended to cover damage caused by the lack of power – such as food having to be thrown away.
Industry guaranteed standards require payment within 90 days, and it is an automatic process. Compensation comes via a cheque, which is a regulatory requirement.
In addition to NPG’s regulatory requirements, NPG offered welfare payments. These payments are discretionary, and are not regulated. Constituents who were still off supply on 29th November or later were eligible for these payments. Proof of purchase – such as receipts, bank statements, or proof of cash withdrawals with details of what was spent, where it was spent, and when it was spent – is required.
These payments were for the ‘reasonable costs of alternative accommodation’ (ie, a Premier Inn or similar hotel, not the Shangri La), up to £15 per person per meal for three meals a day, and other ‘reasonably incurred costs’, such as arranging one’s own back-up generator.
If you are still having problems receiving compensation from Northern Powergrid, please contact my office by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Compensation for water outages
Compensation for water outages is governed by a regulatory Guaranteed Standards of Service (GSS). There are clauses in these around severe weather and access. Northumbrian Water is undertaking technical work to identify whether customers are entitled to payments and the specific amounts in each case.
Northumbrian Water has said that they will contact affected customers directly, and will be providing me with an update on their progress on 21st February.