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A review into the response to Storm Arwen has been launched by Ofgem as the £700 limit on compensation is removed by the network companies

By David Porter

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SSEN engineers continue to work towards full reconnection.
SSEN engineers continue to work towards full reconnection.

Ofgem has today announced it is launching a review into the impact of Storm Arwen.

This will focus on the role of the network companies in maintaining the resilience of the system and their emergency response, including their communications with customers.

Recognising that network companies across Britain have faced challenging conditions to restore power and have done so to almost a million people, 10,500 people are still without power in some parts of Scotland and the North of England.

As part of this review, Ofgem will establish the facts and, if necessary, will pursue further enforcement action.

Ofgem has engineers on site to meet with the network companies and talk to local customers.

Although most are back on power, Ofgem will be looking carefully at the response to the storm to see if there are any lessons to be learnt by network companies.

The limit on the amount of compensation available to those affected by Storm Arwen has also been removed which means that the customers most affected could receive up to £140 a day for each day they’re off power until power is restored.

At present £70 compensation is available for first 48 hours, and then £70 for every 12 hours thereafter without power.

The additional compensation will apply to customers without power for more than 6.5 days, which would otherwise have been capped at £700.

Jonathan Brearley, Ofgem’s chief executive said: “We understand this is a really worrying time for people who are without heat and power as the severity of Storm Arwen has hit homes and businesses in the North of England and Scotland.

"The effects of Storm Arwen are still being felt with 10,500 homes still without power.

“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.

"We are launching a review into how the storm has been handled.

"We have strict rules on how network companies need to operate in these circumstances, and we will take action if needed.

“The absolute priority remains getting people back on power as quickly as possible, but for those who have not had power because of Storm Arwen, there are ways for customers to claim compensation by contacting their network company.

"After discussions between the regulator and the industry, network companies have agreed to remove the £700 cap on compensation to allow affected customers to claim for the full period they have been without power.

“I’ve launched an urgent review to see if there are things that the industry could learn from this response in order to improve our support to consumers in the future.”

Peter Bingham, chief engineer at Ofgem said: “We’re onsite in the hardest hit areas of Scotland and the North of England to see for ourselves the enormous challenge network companies have had.

“We are talking to affected customers in these areas as well as our colleagues in the industry to get an accurate picture of whether there are lessons to be learnt from the response to this storm that we can use to improve support given to consumers in the future.”

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