Extra payout for electricity customers

THOUSANDS of East Anglians who were told they would not receive compensation after losing power during last October's storms were today hearing that they will receive a payout after all.

THOUSANDS of East Anglians who were told they would not receive compensation after losing power during last October's storms were today hearing that they will receive a payout after all.

After months of investigations by industry regulator Ofgem, electricity giant EDF Energy – formerly 24seven – has been told it must compensate customers worst affected by the power loss.

In its report released today, Ofgem is ruling that about 10,000 more people in the region should receive payouts.

Most of the customers to get the extra payment are in the Norfolk and Suffolk areas, although EDF's network extends throughout London.

Households will receive a special package agreed by the company and Ofgem.

About 300,000 householders and businesses across the region suffered power cuts after the October storms, with thousands of people left without heating, light or the means to cook hot meals.

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But at the height of the bad weather, on October 27, 24seven suspended its Guaranteed Standards compensation citing "exceptional circumstances".

It defended its controversial decision by stating that the storms were similar to the 1987 hurricane and the company's low-level voltage system saw as many faults in six hours as in a normal year.

As the industry regulator, it is up to Ofgem to determine whether companies such as 24seven acted consistently with the regulations in claiming an exemption from standard compensation, which would have seen anyone left without power paid £50 for the first 18 hours and a further £25 for every 12 hours after that.

After a huge public outcry, the firm announced it would offer 20,000 customers – still without power on October 31 – £100.

Today Ofgem was telling it to offer payments to a further 10,000 customers – but backed the company's claim that last October's storm was an "exceptional event" so it was justified in suspending normal compensation payments.

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