Power Cuts (And What To Do if Your Have One)

  • In our modern world, we are all so dependent on electricity. We rely on it for so much and depend upon it so completely, that many of us are completely unequipped to deal with it when the power is out. Being plunged into darkness by a power outage takes us back into a world before electricity – a time of going to bed when it gets dark, and getting up with the lark – a time of candles and quiet pursuits. It might be argued that getting rid of all our electronic devices for a time might be a good thing – not least for our mental health. But the reality of it is that power cuts can be extremely inconvenient. 
  • So, what do you do if you experience a power cut in your home? Money Pug is here to help with this simple guide. We’ll talk about why power cuts happen, what to do when one does, and whether or not you might be entitled to compensation. Read on to find out more. 

Why Do Power Cuts Occur?

Power cuts, also known as power outages, power failures or blackouts, happen when an area is cut off from its electricity source. There are a number of reasons why electricity may not be reaching your home. For example:

  • There may be a network fault.
  • Damage may have been caused by an accident. (Such as vehicles or machinery knocking down a line.)
  • Damage may have been caused by extreme weather, such as flooding, high winds, or snow. 

There may also have been a planned power outage, so, for examples, engineers can work on the lines. However, you should have been given notice of this at least two days in advance. 

(Note, the electricity may also have gone out because you have been disconnected. This is different to an unintentional power cut. It is rare for a supplier to cut off a household but it does occur. However, if you have not paid your bills and the supplier does plan to cut you off, they have to give you at least 28 days written notice following the receipt of your last bill. They should also have sent a disconnection notice seven days before pulling your supply.)

What Should You Do if One Happens?

The first thing to do if you experience a power cut is to check that the source of the problem does not lie within your home. Take a look at your fuse box to make sure that one of your fuses has not tripped. If that does not seem to be the problem then take a look outside. Are your neighbours lights off too? If so, it is likely to be a network related issue. If the power is not restored quickly, you may wish to make a call. 

Who To Call if Your Have a Power Cut

In the event of a power cut, you should not call the energy supplier who provides your bills. Instead, you should contact your Local Distribution Company. The Local Distribution company for your area is the operator that manages the power lines that connect your home to the national grid. 

The emergency only contacts for the different regions are as follows:

North of Scotland:
Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks
0345 026 2554 (SSEN Meter Point Administration Service) for your Meter Point Administration Number (MPAN)

Central & Southern Scotland:
SP Energy Networks
0330 1010 300

North East England & Yorkshire:
Northern Powergrid
0800 011 3332

North West England:
Electricity North West
0800 195 4141

Merseyside, Cheshire, North Wales & North Shropshire:
SP Energy Networks
0330 1010 300

East Midlands & West Midlands:
Western Power Distribution
0800 096 3080

South Wales & South West England:
Western Power Distribution
0800 096 3080

London, South East England & Eastern England:
UK Power Networks
0800 029 4285

Central Southern England:
Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks
0345 026 2554 (SSEN Meter Point Administration Service) for your Meter Point Administration Number (MPAN)

Northern Ireland:
Northern Ireland Electricity Networks
03457 643 643

Republic of Ireland:
ESB Networks
00353 1850 372 757

Claiming Compensation for a Power Cut

If you experience a power cut that lasts for longer than 24 hours then you may be entitled to £75 or more in compensation. You can claim for a power cut if the electricity distributor is at fault for the unplanned loss of power. 

If, however, the power went out due to an action at your end. For example, if the supply was severed during works, a fuse tripped, or you have not been paying your bills, then you are not entitled to any compensation. 

Sometimes, there may be a planned outage. This may be required if, for example, there is work to be done on the infrastructure or network. Your distributor must give you at least two days notice of many planned power outage. If they have not done so, then you can claim £30 within 30 days of the outage. 

If there was an unplanned outage, and the cause requires that compensation be paid,  how much it will be will depend on the cause of the power cut and also how many homes were affected.

  • If fewer than 5,000 households experience a power outage for more than 12 hours, each home will get £75, and £35 for each 12 hour period thereafter.
  • If more than 5,000 homes were affected, each household can receive the same amounts. However, the amount caps at £300. 

If the power cut was due to extreme weather, households may receive £70 if they were without power for 24 hours, and another £70 for each additional 12 hour period, to a total of no more than £700. 

To discover and try to claim compensation, contact your Local Distribution Network. 

If compensation is due, it should be paid within 10 days of the outage ending (though this may not be the case with weather-related blackouts). If there has been a problem with receiving your compensation, you could consider contacting the energy ombudsman. 

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