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How to get power cut compensation

If your gas or electricity supply goes off or cuts out, you might be able to claim power cut compensation. Our guide tells you what you need to know about claiming and how much you could receive.

If your gas or electricity supply goes off or cuts out, you might be able to claim power cut compensation. Our guide tells you what you need to know about claiming and how much you could receive.

Written by
Sajni Shah
Utilities comparison expert
Last Updated
26 JANUARY 2024
4 min read
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Can I claim power cut compensation?

You might be able to claim power cut compensation if your electricity supply is cut off. However, this will depend on:

  • How long the power was off 
  • If the power cut was planned.

You’ll only get compensation if the power cut was the electricity distributor’s fault. If you accidentally cut through a power cable while doing a bit of DIY, you can’t get compensation.

If you’re currently experiencing a power cut, read our guide what to do in a power cut. The Powercut105 website also offers advice and allows you to track power cut updates.

How to claim compensation for a power cut?

If you want to claim for compensation, you need to contact the power distributor for your area, not your power supplier.

You can find out who your local distribution network operator is by going to the Energy Networks Association website and clicking on the map or entering your postcode into the search box.

Once you’ve found the information you need, either phone your network operator for details of how to make a claim or fill out an online claim form on their website (if there is one).

How long do I have to make a claim?

You must make a claim for compensation within:

  • Three months of your supply being restored if it was an unplanned power cut. (If you’re on the Priority Services Register, there’s no time limit.)
  • One month if the cut to supply was due to planned works where you weren’t given notice.

If you’re entitled to compensation, you should get your cash within 10 working days of making the claim. It will usually be credited to your energy account or meter if you’re a prepayment customer – or you might receive a cheque in the post. 

 

How much notice must be given for a planned power cut?

Distribution providers must give you at least two days’ notice for any planned power cuts. If they don’t do this, they should pay £35 compensation to domestic customers and £70 to non-domestic customers.

The providers should pay the same amount of compensation if they interrupt the energy supply on a different day from the one you were told.

Who pays for power surge damage in the UK?

Your network operator is not liable for any damage to electrical appliances caused by a power surge. Instead, you may be able to claim on your home contents insurance for this.

A power surge can occur when your electricity has been turned back on after a power outage. If you’re worried about damage from voltage spikes, surge protectors can help to safeguard landline phones, internet routers and other electronic equipment.

How much power cut compensation will I get?

How much compensation for a power cut you receive will depend on the problem, how long it lasted and whether it’s been a recurring issue. Energy regulator Ofgem sets guaranteed standards, which should be met by electricity distribution companies.

They include guidance on how quickly companies must respond to restore power, in both normal and severe weather conditions. They also cover your rights if the power is cut off for another reason, like electricity supply shortages, and if standards aren’t met.

Payments under the guaranteed standards recognise the inconvenience caused by loss of supply. But they’re not designed to compensate customers for financial loss caused by the loss of power. 

How long must a power cut last before I can claim compensation

Power cuts in normal weather

If a power cut isn't planned and you’re cut off for 12 hours or more you can claim:

  • £90 as a domestic customer
  • £175 as a non-domestic customer.

You could also be paid an extra £40 for each further period of 12 hours during which your supply is not restored, up to a maximum of £300 in total.

If you’re cut off more than four times in a year for at least three hours each time, you can claim an extra £90 as a domestic or non-domestic customer. The year runs from 1 April to 31 March.

If more than 5,000 homes are affected by a single fault, local network companies have 24 hours to restore supplies.

Power cuts in severe weather

How much power cut compensation you can claim depends on the storm category.

The more severe the storm, the longer network operators have to rectify any damage before they’re liable for compensation. As of September 2023:

  • Storm category 1 – you can get £80 if your power has been cut off for 24 hours. You’ll get an extra £40 for every 6 hours afterwards. The maximum amount you can claim is £2,000.
  • Storm category 2 – you can get £80 if your power has been cut off for 48 hours. You’ll get an extra £40 for every 6 hours afterwards. The maximum amount you can claim is £2,000.

Compensation payments will stay in line with inflation, so these figures will change over time.

The storm categorisation isn’t based on how the Met Office categorises storms. It’s to do with the number of supply faults experienced in a 24-hour period.

Storm categories are:

  • Category 1: storm causing between eight and 12 times the daily average number of faults in a 24-hour period, as defined in the Electricity (Standards of Performance) Regulations 2015.
  • Category 2: storm causing more than 12 times the daily average number of faults in a 24-hour period, as defined in the Electricity (Standards of Performance) Regulations 2015.

If the power cut is because of disruption to the national energy supply, you won't be entitled to compensation. This is because it's not due to a fault on the network.

Electricity supply shortages

If you’re cut off for more than 24 hours because of a shortage of power, you could claim: 

  • £75 for domestic customers 
  • £150 for non-domestic customers. 

Can I get power cut compensation if there’s a problem with my meter?

If you experience a power cut because of a faulty meter, you should make a claim to your supplier. You can find out who your supplier is from your most recent power bill. 

If you’re a tenant and your landlord pays the energy bills, they’re responsible for contacting the energy supplier. 

If you’ve got a prepayment meter and the screen is blank or showing a message such as ‘error’, ‘call help’ or ‘battery’, there’s probably a fault with the meter. Tell your supplier immediately or you may find yourself without energy. 

Your supplier must send someone out to repair or replace the meter within: 

  • Three hours on a working day (Monday to Friday except bank holidays)
  • Four hours on a non-working day.

If your supplier can fix the problem remotely, they don’t have to send out an engineer. But they must fix the issue within the same time period. 

If your supplier doesn’t take appropriate action within the time period, they must pay you £30 compensation within 10 working days. If they don't pay you on time, they have to pay an extra £30 for the delay. 

What can I do if my gas is cut off?

If your gas supply goes off, you can claim:

  • £40 for planned interruptions if you weren’t given seven working days’ notice.
  • £60 for unplanned interruptions for every 24 hours your gas supply is off. 

Extra payments and support are available for households on the priority services register. 

You won’t be able to get compensation if your gas goes off because of disruption to the national energy supply or the gas was cut off because of something you did.

Frequently asked questions

I keep suffering power cuts. Can I get extra compensation for that?

If your electricity supply keeps failing because of the distribution network, both domestic and business customers are entitled to £80 compensation. That’s as long as you meet certain criteria.

The power has to be off for at least three hours, on a minimum of four separate occasions in a one-year period – beginning on 1 April each year.

Can I claim for food in my freezer I had to throw away because of a power cut?

You can’t claim power cut freezer food compensation as this is considered financial loss. You’d need to claim on your home contents insurance for this.

I’m not happy with how my power cut compensation claim was dealt with. What can I do?

If you’re not satisfied with your distribution company’s decision following a claim, you’ll need to follow their complaints procedure. If you still feel aggrieved at the end of the process, you can refer the case to the Energy Ombudsman.

Sajni Shah - Consumer expert on utilities and money

Sajni is passionate about building products, allowing Compare the Market to help you make great financial decisions. She keeps track of the latest trends and evolving markets to find new ways to help you save money.

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