Our energy expert

Power cut compensation

It's never ideal when a power cut happens. Whether it's due to storms or high winds, or just an electricity malfunction, if a power cut lasts for longer than 24 hours, you could be entitled to compensation - dependent on how long you’ve been without power, as well as the cause of the power cut, many determine how much you could claim.

When can I claim for a power cut?

If you disrupt your own power supply, for instance, you accidentally cut through a cable whilst gardening or a fuse tripped, you cannot claim compensation. Although this is frustrating, it's not the fault of your energy supplier or distributor.

If a power cut or outage has been organised by the distributor, they should let you know at least two days before they plan on undertaking any work. There are many reasons why a distributor may wish to turn off the power supply to your home, but it's usually so they can undertake essential repairs.

However, sometimes distributors regret to inform people about planned outages - in this circumstance, if your power has been out for longer than 24 hours, you may be entitled to some money back. The amount you can receive depends on the length of time the unplanned outage has taken and the amount of homes or businesses the power cut affected.

In the event that you have recently moved into a property and are not sure who your current energy supplier is, you can find out here.

What if there's a power outage caused by bad weather?

Sometimes very extreme weather can cause power outages to homes. This could be due to flooding or even strong winds blowing down electricity pylons. Ofgem sets a certain amount of standards for electricity and gas distributors, and they are provided with different scenarios that can cause power outages.

Distributors will provide compensation based on these scenarios, with some companies offering more than the standard, if customers have been severely affected.

How much can I claim?

According to Citizens Advice, you can claim £75 from your electricity distributor, if your power was out for longer than 12 hours, and fewer than 5,000 homes were affected. After this, you are entitled to £35 every 12 hours that follows.

If the amount of homes affected exceeds 5,000, you'll receive £75 if the power was cut for more than 24 hours, and £35 for each additional 24 hours - only up to a maximum of £300.

If your power cut was due to bad weather, it doesn't matter how many homes were affected, you'll still receive £70 if your power was out for 24 hours, sometimes stretching to 48 hours. Following this, for every 12 hours your power is still out, you'll receive £70 - only up to a maximum of £700.

When can I claim?

If you have unfortunately been affected by a power cut caused by bad weather, then you can claim compensation within 3 months. If you're disabled or vulnerable for any reason, you may be able to be put on your supplier's Priority Services Register, which means that your compensation will be paid automatically.

If bad weather wasn't the cause of the power outage, you should claim compensation through the electricity distributor, not your supplier (your supplier is who you pay your bill to), within 3 months of the supply being fixed. However, if the outage was due to a planned cut, but you weren't given proper notice, you should make the claim within one month.

How will I be paid?

Dependent on how you're claiming, there are differences in the amount of time it takes to receive reimbursement:

  • If you're being paid automatically, due to being on your supplier's Priority Services Register, you should be paid within 10 days of the end of the power cut
  • If not, you'll be paid within 10 days of putting in the claim from your electricity supplier or distributor
  • If severe weather conditions caused the outage, you should be paid as soon as possible

If you find that you haven't received the funds within this period, you can then receive £30 late payment from your electricity supplier.

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