Compensation confusion over flood power cut

Flooding at Todmorden, December 26, 2015, picture by Michael Green
Flooding at Todmorden, December 26, 2015, picture by Michael Green

Confusion reigns over compensation payments for homes left without power - some for up to five days - following the Boxing Day floods.

Northern Powergrid, which controls infrastructure such as substations which failed amid the flooding, has told some customers they will get a £100 payment, an amount some are querying, and others that they will get nothing at all.

Under rules set by regulator Ofgem compensation escalating payments have to be made if power is not restored within certain time limits but on social media and callers to this newspaper there is anger and confusion over who has been offered a payment or not, though there is no criticism of work done by repair teams amid the crisis in extremely difficult circumstances.

The issue affected homes along the length of the Calder Valley, from Walsden to Mytholmroyd and beyond.

Pensioner Issy Shannon, of Melbourne Street, Hebden Bridge, who was without power from around 11.30am on Boxing Day to approximately tea-time on Monday, December 28, said it was the way Northern Powergrid was handling the situation that was causing upset.

“When the floods happened they got on with the job, there is no criticism of that but it is the way Northern Powergrid have handled this since. Some are being told they will get compensation, others told they will not,” she said.

A spokeswoman for Northern Powergrid said: “We restored power to 93 per cent of our customers affected by Storm Eva within 12 hours.

“In the majority of cases where customers were without power for more 12 hours, this was as a result of the unprecedented flooding preventing safe access to our network to carry out repairs, or their property being either still flooded or damaged, so that it was unable to receive the power that we had restored and made available from our network.

“For those customers it was necessary to ensure their homes were ready to receive power from our network, which involved getting checks by an electrician for inside their home and by their electricity supplier, which is responsible for the meter. We supported these safety checks, working alongside suppliers, to visit more than 2,000 properties in the Calder Valley to inspect our equipment that links their home to our network.

“We always follow guaranteed standards set by Ofgem. The guaranteed standards do recognise extreme situations and, due to the extent of the impact of Storm Eva preventing access to parts of our network to carry out repairs, there are exemptions permitted, which means some customers would not receive a payment. Where customers were off supply and the repair was possible but took longer than 12 hours, we have contacted them proactively and offered a guaranteed standard payment of £100 in the case of domestic customers. This is 33 per cent higher than the amount set by our regulator.”