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Northern Power Grid compensation

From Nick J

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Hello all. Just to share some information regarding my claim. After chasing Northern Power Grid I have been offered compensation in the amount £210.00 for the electricity cut I had on Birchcliffe from AM on the the 26th until AM on the 29th December.

They have issued a cheque today, and told me that they would be proactively contacting customers in the coming weeks that are due compensation. Knowing the tactics of these huge power companies, I would suspect they'll initially offer a much lower amount than this in the hope people accept. OFGEM has clear guidelines on this which consumers are entitled to (see website for details) ...so if offered less make sure you get the full compensation you are entitled to.

From Beryl M

Monday, 8 February 2016

That's interesting... We are on Machpelah and were off for the same amount of time (except that the power came on briefly on December 29 and then went off again). I just phoned Northern Powergrid to register a claim and was told that we weren't eligible for compensation as the flooding was an Act of God and because the police wouldn't let the engineers access the substation, Powergrid weren't liable.

I mentioned that other people in the area were getting compensation but was told that they were probably supplied from a different substation. I know one of my neighbours has also registered a claim. We are supposed to get a letter in the next few days.

From Maureen Brian

Monday, 8 February 2016

There's nothing in the OFGEM summary of costumer rights about "Acts of God" in such situations but there is a mention of severe weather. I think the Boxing Day flood would fit neatly into that category as it resulted from a period of heavy rain.

As for "the police wouldn't let us" that sounds just like a dog ate my homework excuse. The sub station which blew up at Hebble End was in an already vulnerable position and had to be replaced. We also have video of it happening.

It sounds like they are just trying it on with the different substation excuse. Surely they have a map or a wiring diagram somewhere? How would they know which bit to fix without one?

I'm also at Machpelah and power was out exactly as described - 26.12 until 30.12 early hours, with about an hour or less on 29.12 early evening. We could see which bits of HB had power and which didn't!

Do you want to email me, Beryl M, and see if we can together find a sensible answer?


From Kate F

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

I also live in Machpelah and can substantiate that the power was off between 11.10 on Saturday 26th Dec until 01.30 on Wednesday 30th Dec. It came back on briefly from 18.10 to 8.35 on Dec 29th but I would argue that the time was too insignificant to count.

I have written to Northern Powergrid twice now to ask them for the amount of compensation set out in Ofgem's 'Quality of Service Guaranteed Standards' and, like you, I assume that 'severe storm' is the basis of the calculation (ie payment starts 48 hours after loss of power).

The first response was that they had noted my claim and would be in touch again 'shortly'. Over 2 weeks later I had heard nothing and wrote again. A week later a letter arrived telling me how many properties had been affected in total and that they were still assessing the situation. I wrote back yesterday pointing out that in between them receiving my first and second letters I was aware that payments had already been made to people in the vicinity who had been without power for a lesser time. If they are saying it is because they were supplied by different substations it would seem odd that we are/were the only few properties to be supplied by another substation to those others close by (within sight) who were reconnected ahead of us.

Anyway, I wrote back yesterday saying that I was now going to contact Ofgem to make them aware of the discrimination that was being shown when we had all experienced the same flood and storm and were in fact amongst those who were without power the longest. I have written to Ofgem to this effect.

Maybe we should join forces?

From Bob Deacon

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Just to let readers of this thread know that there is a similar and much longer one on the Calder Valley Flood Support Facebook page. The inconsistencies are quite remarkable. Powegrid are, I believe, schehuled to appear at the CMBC Flood Road show in HB on Saturday. It does feel like there is a case for a collective legal challenge or similar action.

From Gary W

Friday, 19 February 2016

After applying to Northern Power Grid for compensation (i was without power for 2-3 days) I was told (by letter, then by phone) that i didn't qualify as a 3rd party (the police) prevented engineers from accessing the sub stations to carry out repair work. I explained that this was not a credible explanation but they were adamant that no payments were due.

I then officially submitted a complaint to OFGEM. Today, all the flats in my building have received a letter from Northern Power Grid offering us £140 each in compensation.

It certainly pays to (politely) complain!

From Bob Deacon

Sunday, 28 February 2016

In order to try to get to the bottom of how and why Northern Powergrid have been so untransparent and treated people so inequitably after the electicity outages the following Freedom of Information Request has been sent to them.

Under the freedom of information act I would like to be provided with the following information please.

1. With regard to electricity services provided by you to domestic customers within the HX7 post code on or for the 7 days after Dec26th 2015 please tell me:

a) How many customers were without electricity for 12 hours or more , and what percentage of domestic customers in HX7 does this involve? If possible please tabulate the number of affected customers by 12 hours, 24 hours, 36 hours, 48 hours outages.

b) How many of those affected customers (in each category if possible) have been so far (until February 29th) been compensated for the power cut?

c) How many of those customers who actually applied for a compensation payment had been INITIALLY refused because you were unable to access the sub stations or for some other reason you judged the OFGEM EXCEPTION CLAUSE guidelines applied?

d) How many of those INITIALLY refused have subsequently been offered compensation?

e) Of the total numbers (in b above) offered compensation how many have been offered £50-£100, £101-200, £201-£300, £300 plus?

f) In the case of those who were initially refused and subsequently compensated (see d above) what policy decision made by whom and when lead to this change of decision?

g) Please also convey the exchange of emails/letters between NorthernPowergrid and OFGEM with regard to policy advice regarding payments received by OFGEM during this period DEC 26th till Feb 29th 2016.

I thank you for addressing this request.

Please acknowledge receipt and indicate within what time frame you will be able to answer.

From Mark H

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Sorry this may be a long one. I have found dealing with Northern Powergrid about as easy as plaiting fog!

Like everyone we lost power around 11.20 on boxing day. Our power here at West End wasn't restored until late afternoon of 30th December.

I first contacted Northern Power Grid regarding compensation early January and was told I would be contacted within a few days. Several phone calls and emails later, I finally received an offer on 23 Feb for £205.

Reading the OFGEM regulations, this didn't make sense as during severe weather, I'm sure we can all agree that a flood of such magnitude can only be caused by severe weather, the regulations require payments of:

£70 for domestic and non-domestic customers. A further £70 will be paid for each additional period of 12 hours in which supply is not restored (up to a cap of £700 in total).

I requested a breakdown of how they have calculated the compensation and much to my surprise received the following from them last night.

Thank you for taking the time to contact us regarding the letter you have received to offer compensation. Firstly, I would like to say sorry that you have had to take the time to do this again.

As mentioned in my previous correspondence we adhere to Guaranteed Standards of Service which are set by Ofgem, the industry regulator. As a result of the flooding, police restricted access to our substations and engineers were unable to safely access the area and our equipment to restore supplies. In this case normal Guaranteed Standards of Service would not apply. Once we did gain access and engineers were able to carry out repairs the Guaranteed Standards would start.

Please see the breakdown below which will explain why the payment you have received for £205 is correct and keeping in line with our Guaranteed Standards of Service.

Power off from 11:26 26/12/15
Clock stopped at 15:12 26/12/15 until 10:19 27/12/15 as due to flood waters we were unable to gain access into substation to carry out repairs.
Clock started at 10:19 27/12/15
Power was restored at 08:50 29/12/15

Guarantee Standards of Service payment breakdown.
£100 one of payment for the first 12 hours.
£35 for each subsequent 12 hour period that the power remains off.

I hope the information provided is helpful in understanding our position in this matter. Once again I am sorry for the inconvenience caused.

Kind regards

Laverne Hatton
Customer Care

Several points arise from this response.

Did the police really stop them gaining access? This seems highly unlikely as surely restoring some form of power to the town would be a priority for all concerned. If Northern Power Grid arrived during the flood then obviously they couldn't gain access but according to the timings they didn't gain access until the following day at 10:19, why did they wait until the following day to begin repairs when the floodwaters would have been gone some 12 hours earlier.

"Power was restored at 08:50 29/12/15". In my case this was not true. Power was not restored until 30th at around 16:20

"Guarantee Standards of Service payment breakdown.

£100 one of payment for the first 12 hours.

£35 for each subsequent 12 hour period that the power remains off."...

These figures do not match the Severe Weather figures quoted in the OFGEM regulations. So what do they match? Well in the snail mail letter I received they claim to be paying an extra £30 above the OFGEM amounts due to "the period of time you were without electricity" so putting that to one side leaves £180.

Based on their incorrect timings for myself that is £70 initial payment and £35 per 12 hours. This is in line with OFGEM Regulation 5–Supply Restoration in normal weather conditions! How can Northern Powergrid be claiming that the power outage was caused by "normal weather conditions" and at the same time claim they couldn't gain access due to floods?

The OFGEM regulations can be found here.

I have contacted them again asking them to justify "Normal Weather" in the context of the Calder Valley floods.

Does anyone have any ideas on where to go from here?

From Jack Hughes

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

My electricity supply was off for 52 hours. £135 has been offered. Seems a bit anomalous.

From Bob Deacon

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Mark, the stories are endless. I heard today of someone who on challenging their first offer received a much higher offer on condition she did not tell anybody!

My own situation is I received an off of £135; £30, they say above the OFGEM guidlines. This bears no relation to the three or four times £70 (i.e. Minimum £210) that I think my 48hr outage generated (excuse pun!).

Its not that I am personally so agrieved. Iit is the absolute falure of Northern Powergrid to understand there is are fundamental social policy issues here of equity and transparency.

Their explanation contains this sentence: "To clarify further, you may find that neighbours who live very close to you could receive an offer, this is simply due to the configuration of our network and is not an error or discrimination against any of our customers".

So where do we go from here?

a) I have sent a freedom of information request asking for a full breakdown of their actions (see earlier contribution to this thread)

b) The HB Partnership, at my suggestion, has submitted to the Flood Commission a recommendation that they request a review by OFGEM of Northern Power Grid's behaviour and seek government funds to compensate those that Northern Power Grid say they have no obligation to compensate because of not getting access to their substations.

c) Some kind of major lobby is still needed to resolve this. Not sure how to do it? MP? CMBC? Flood Commission (as I said), a demand for a public enquiry? Stiching all of this together might be difficult? Help!

From Trizia W

Thursday, 10 March 2016

If you were served by the Hebble End substation, and live in the Melbourne Street area, Northern Powergid restored electricity on the 29th December by means of a temporary hook up from a diesel powered generator in Brunswick Street, to the substation at the bottom of ?Cuckoo Steps. One look at the Hebble End substation would have told them it was going to take some time to fix and they could have put that temporary hook up into place later on Boxing Day. My point is that the "the police wouldn't let us have access" excuse simply doesn't hold water (sorry!)

After three refusals to compensate me for the 72 hours I was without power, I've been offered £135, which like others on this thread, I have refused, and asked for details of how the calculation was made. I'm waiting for a revised offer.