Power cut - Updated

All of us - except a random lucky few! - were affected by a power outage from 6pm yesterday (Thurs 18th July) lasting around 8 hours.

Here are the answers to a few questions which have cropped up:
  • Our power distribution is controlled by Independent Power Networks (IPNL) - (NOT  UK Power Networks, who control most of the rest of the Eastern region). Their phone number is 01359 243311 - or, in future power cuts or emergencies 0800 013 0849.
  • Compensation is only available for power cuts over 18 hours - so this one does not qualify. The only exception to this is if we have three further power cuts of more than 4 hours in the next 12 months. Details here.
  • Food in your freezer will be totally fine if you kept the door shut while it was off (you did, didn't you.....?). Most freezers would have been OK for 24 hours or more with the door closed. If you opened yours, and your food was ruined, the only option you have is to talk to your home insurance company.
I have obtained the following statement from IPNL:

We apologise that you and so many of the residents had difficulty in reaching our out of hours service last evening but it was a large outage and the out of hours service was inundated with calls, with some customers calling in three and four times.  Our electricity department are currently gathering together all of the facts and exactly how many premises were affected.  Unfortunately, compensation does not become payable under The Electricity (Standards of Performance) Regulations 2005 (Amended) until the supply has been interrupted for 18 hours.

We are currently reviewing our handling of electricity outages and will take into account your comments, when doing so.

We have also received the following subsequent update from IPNL:

We would like to take this opportunity to apologise for the extended interruption to your power supply on Thursday 18th July and that you were inconvenienced during this time.

The first call received and logged was at 18.40 on Thursday 18th July and last reconnections were made at  05.39 on Friday 19th July, giving a maximum period of loss of supply of 11 hours. Unfortunately, under the Electricity (Standards of Performance) Regulations 2005 (as amended), no compensation is payable until the loss of supply has exceeded 18 hours. In any event, we do not compensate for electrical equipment or loss of contents from refrigerators or freezers. We advise that this should be taken up with your home contents insurer.

This was a major outage affecting over 1,000 properties and, at the time of your loss of supply, GTC were working on a number of faults in the area, which meant our teams were already out repairing those faults. As a result, our arrival time in St Neots was longer than we would normally expect and the next available team had to travel further than usual. GTC have now investigated the fault and can confirm the loss of power was due to a damaged cable by a third party.

Some of our callers have expressed concern with the call handling on Thursday evening, for which we apologise. Because of the volume of calls, the 'out of hours' call team were unable to manage those calls to our usual standard. We are currently taking action to ensure that measures are put in place to address this.

For your information, if you wish to obtain independent, impartial advice on consumer issues, you can do so by contacting The Citizens Advice Bureau on 08454 040506 or visit www.citizensadvice.org.uk


Marcus Pickering, 01/08/2013