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Claiming compensation when your gas or electricity goes off

If there's a power cut or your gas supply stops, you may be able to claim compensation under a Guaranteed Standards scheme set by Ofgem. This depends on:

  • how much notice you were given, if it was a planned power cut
  • how long the power stayed off for
  • how many power cuts you have had in the last year
  • whether you suffer particular hardship as a result of the power cut
  • if you are on the Priority Services Register, whether you got the services you needed.

If you have costs resulting from the power loss, such as food that may have gone off, there’s no compensation available and you’ll need to claim on your household insurance.

This page explains when you can claim compensation for a power cut and how to claim it. It also tells you what your rights are if your gas goes off.

Top tips

If your electricity or gas goes off, you should make a note of the time and date of the disruption, and how long it lasted for. This means you will have a record if you want to make a claim for compensation for multiple disruptions.

Electricity power cuts

Were you told about the power cut?

Your electricity distributor may sometimes need to disconnect your electricity to carry out essential work. You should normally be given at least two days’ notice of this in advance.

It’s possible that your electricity distributor may not be the same company that supplies you with electricity and to whom you pay your bills..

If you are not given two days’ notice of the planned power cut, you may be entitled to a compensation payment. This will be a set amount under the Guaranteed Standards scheme. You can only get this payment for planned power cuts and not when the electricity goes off because of an emergency, severe weather or a fault.

Help for people with special circumstances

If you are on the Priority Services Register or have a particular need for power, such as constant use of electrical medical equipment, get in touch with your supplier. They should help you arrange an alternative electricity supply while the work is being carried out.

If you are on the Priority Services Register and don’t get this help during a power cut, you are entitled to a compensation payment. This will be a set amount under the Guaranteed Standards scheme.

How long did the power stay off for?

If the power cut is caused by a fault on the network, you may be entitled to a compensation payment if it:

  • lasts for longer than 18 hours in normal weather where the power cut affects less than 5000 homes
  • lasts for longer than 24 hours in normal weather where the power cut affects more than 5000 homes
  • lasts for 24-48 hours in severe weather and
  • is the distributor’s fault.

The amount you can get will be based on how long the power was off and there are further payments for each further 12 hours you are cut off, up to a maximum of another 7 payments.

How many power cuts have you had?

If your power goes off more than four times between 1 April and 31 March in any year, and for more than three hours each time, you are entitled to a compensation payment. This will apply if the power cuts were the electricity distributor’s fault.

Claiming compensation during storms

During storms it will take your electricity distributor longer to fix faults. There are three categories of storm under which you can claim compensation:

  • category 1: if you’ve been without power for over 24 hours where there are eight times the daily average level of high voltage faults on the network
  • category 2: if you’ve been without power for 48 hours where there are 13 times the daily average level of high voltage faults on the network
  • category 3: a very severe storm where the compensation depends upon the amount of time you are cut off for, which varies depending upon the number of people affected.

The amount you can get will be based on how long the power was off and there are further payments for each further 12 hours you are cut off, up to a maximum of another 7 payments.

In addition to this scheme, set by Ofgem, your regional electricity distributor may decide to increase the standard compensation payments, for example if you’re without power over Christmas.

How can you claim your compensation?

If you think you are entitled to compensation, you should contact your regional electricity distributor within three months of getting your power back on, if they haven't contacted you. Your regional electricity distributor may not be the same as the company that supplies you with electricity.

Your gas supply stops

Your gas transporter may sometimes need to disconnect your gas to carry out essential work. It’s possible that your gas transporter may not be the same company that supplies you with gas and to whom you pay your bills

You should normally be given at least five days’ notice of any disconnection in advance. If you are not given five days’ notice of the planned power cut, you may be entitled to a compensation payment.

Usually you will be entitled to compensation if you are without gas for more than 24 hours. The amount you can get will be based on how long you were without gas for.

Providing alternative cooking and heating facilities

If you are on the Priority Service Register the gas transporter must give you alternative heating and cooking facilities within four hours. Or eight hours if more than 250 customers are affected.

How can you claim your compensation?

Write to your gas transporter to claim compensation. They must pay you within 20 working days of your claim.

Next steps

Citizens Advice

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