Thu. Jan 20th, 2022

The people in Scotland and northern England who are worst affected by Storm Arwen are ready for higher-than-expected payouts after the energy regulator lifted the compensation limit and confirmed a review of the resilience of the country’s power grid.

Ofgem said that after discussions with the energy network operators, it had removed the £ 700 limit on the amount that households can claim. Customers were entitled to claim £ 70 for each 12-hour period they were left without power, after an initial £ 70 for the first 48 hours, until they reached the limit.

The lifting of the cap means that people will be able to claim for the full period they were without power. More than 10,500 homes were still without power on Friday morning, according to the Energy Networks Association, the trading body, seven days after the storm struck.

Jonathan Brearley, CEO of Ofgem, said it was a “really worrying time” for people without heat and water.

He said the regulator accepts that network companies were operating in “challenging conditions”, but decided to start a review to see if there were things the industry could learn from its response.

“We have strict rules about how network companies should operate in these circumstances, and we will take action if necessary,” he added.

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks said about 1,600 customers were left without power Friday morning at 10 p.m. About 6,000 Northern Powergrid and 1,700 Electricity North West customers in Cumbria still had no supplies early Friday.

About 130 military personnel have joined the relief effort in north-east Scotland, which is conducting welfare investigations and providing support. Meanwhile, more than 100 soldiers were deployed in County Durham on Friday to help those still without power.

Engineers struggled to deal with the huge damage, which initially left 1 million homes without power. Snow, high winds and complex, labor-intensive failures make power recovery “extremely challenging,” the industry’s trading body, the Energy Networks Association, said Friday.

The crisis drew attention to the resilience of Britain’s energy network and the six companies operating the local distribution networks. People complained about a lack of communication with their energy suppliers during the crisis, with many saying they felt forgotten.

Tricia Thomas, chairwoman of the Grange-over-Sands town council in Cumbria, said the aftermath of the storm was “devastating” to local residents. “Communication with the forces was awful, especially with the electricity company,” she said.

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