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Fine network giants for failing to fix power cuts quickly, says MP

By: Information Daily Staff Writer
Published: Monday, February 10, 2014 - 14:40 GMT Jump to Comments

The government should consider fining energy network giants who fail to restore power to customers within a stated time frame, an MP has said.

The Energy and Climate Change Committee Chair, Tim Yeo MP, has written to the Energy Secretary stating he was “shocked” by the “extraordinary complacency” shown by some of the Distribution Network Operators when they appeared before the committee in parliament.

The committee’s inquiry follows a Christmas holiday period where about 750,000 homes were left without power, some in darkness for up to 6 days.

The letter raises concerns about the “grossly adequate” statutory level of compensation customers are entitled to after a long power cut and the poor communication some customers received during the black outs.

Yeo calls on the government to ensure power network operators and the Energy Networks Association commit to introducing an emergency 999-style number for customers affected by power cuts.

The MP also demands a reduction in the time a customer is off supply under severe weather conditions before becoming eligible for a compensation payment and an increase in the minimum statutory compensation a customer is entitled to.

“We pay tribute to the front line staff who had to give up their own holiday plans to help restore power supplies to customers cut off over Christmas. And it is important to note that some companies restored power relatively rapidly”, says Yeo.

“Nevertheless, we were shocked by the extraordinary complacency shown by the management of some of the power networks when they appeared before us in parliament.

“It is absolutely unacceptable for people to be without power for six days. In many cases the inconvenience and distress suffered by customers was aggravated by the inadequate or inaccurate information being given by the companies.

"More effective scrutiny by Ofgem of these companies is needed. If they do not recognise this then I believe the government needs to take action with the threat of fines”.

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