ENERGY network operators SSE and UK Power Networks (UKPN) are set to pay out an extra £3.3m for power cuts during the storms last winter.
SSE’s distribution arm and UKPN, which deliver energy to people’s homes across the south of England, have already paid out £4.7m, after they were found to have been the slowest in responding to customers and in reconnecting their electricity supply. About 500 SSE and UKPN customers were left without power for over five days. The companies’ handling of customers enquiries was also found wanting, with one in five callers deciding to hang up before speaking to an adviser.
Regulator Ofgem has now raised the minimum payment from £27 to £70 if customers are without power for at least 24 hours during a severe weather event and has increased the cap for payments from £216 to £700. “Network companies need to learn the lessons of last winter as a repeat performance will trigger further action from Ofgem,” said Maxine Frerk, Ofgem’s senior partner for distribution.
The big six suppliers were also under scrutiny yesterday, as the Competition and Markets Authority launched its widely anticipated investigation into whether competition in the retail energy market is working effectively.