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Get compensation if you have a power cut

This advice applies to England

You might be able to claim compensation if the electricity or gas supply to your home goes off.

Whether you can claim will depend on:

  • how long the power was cut for
  • if the power cut was planned

Your supplier won’t be responsible for power cuts - it’s your local electricity distributor that maintains the electricity supply to your home.

If you use a prepayment meter and you’re cut off because the meter is faulty your supplier will be responsible. They have to fix it within a certain timeframe. If they don't, you could get compensation.

When you can claim

You’ll only get compensation if the power cut was the electricity distributor or gas transporter's fault. For example, you can't get compensation if you accidentally cut through your supply while doing work on your home.

You won’t get compensation for financial loss, for example if your food spoiled because your freezer defrosted. 

Planned electricity power cuts

Your electricity distributor must give you 2 days’ notice if they plan to cut off your supply to do work. You can claim £30 compensation if they don’t, but you must claim within 1 month.

Unplanned electricity power cuts

If the power cut wasn’t planned, the amount of compensation you can get depends on how many homes were affected by the power cut and whether it was caused by bad weather.

If you want to find out how many homes were affected by a power cut, contact your local electricity distributor.

How much you’ll get

If fewer than than 5,000 homes were affected, you’ll get:

  • £75 if the power was out for longer than 12 hours
  • £35 for each following 12 hours

If more than 5,000 homes were affected, you’ll get:

  • £75 if the power was out for longer than 12 hours
  • £35 for each following period of 12 hours up to a maximum of £300

If the power cut was caused by bad weather, eg a storm damaged power lines, you’ll get the following compensation, regardless of how many homes were affected:

  • £70 if the power was off for 24 hours (this can be 48 hours if it was a severe storm)
  • £70 for each following 12 hours, up to a maximum of £700

Multiple power cuts

You can get an extra £75 compensation if your power goes off more than 4 times in 1 year, for more than 3 hours each time. The year is counted from 31 March to 1 April.

If your gas supply is cut off

The company responsible for the gas pipes connecting to your home (called a gas transporter) must give you 5 days’ notice if they plan to cut off your supply to do work. You can claim £30 compensation if they don’t, but you must claim within 1 month.

If you’re on the Priority Services Register, they must arrange alternative cooking and heating facilities for you.

You’ll be entitled to compensation if your gas is cut off for more than 24 hours. The amount you get will vary depending on how long it was cut off for.

How to claim compensation

If the power cut was caused by bad weather, or if you’re on your supplier’s Priority Services Register, you’ll be paid compensation without having to claim (but if you don’t receive it you can still make a claim).

If the power cut was caused by something else, you’ll need to claim compensation from the company that manages the distribution of your gas or electricity. This company is not your supplier.

You should contact either:

  • your local electricity distributor - claim within 3 months of your supply being fixed (except for planned cuts without proper notice - these must be claimed within 1 month)
  • your local gas transporter

The distribution company or gas transporter will usually send the payment to your supplier. Your supplier will then credit it to your account. They should tell you about this. It’s possible for the distribution company or gas transporter to pay you directly, if they have your details. 

If you have a prepayment meter how you get paid might vary. Some suppliers can credit the meter directly. Others will send you a cheque or vouchers. 

When you’ll be paid

You should be paid either:

  • within 10 days of you claiming
  • within 10 days of the end of the power cut if you’re being paid automatically 

These timescales don't apply if the power cut was caused by bad weather. You should be paid as soon as is reasonable.

If you’re not paid within these timescales, you can get a further payment of £30 for late payment.

If you’re unhappy

If the electricity distributor or gas transporter tells you that you’re not eligible for compensation, and you disagree, you should complain directly to them. Use their complaints procedure, which will be on their website.

If you’re not satisfied with their response to your complaint, you can complain to the energy ombudsman.

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