As much as £300,000 is likely to be shared between customers in the Aldershot area who were affected by power cuts over Christmas, as feedback is invited on the experience.
Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) announced that it would be contacting customers thought to be eligible for compensation, after storms disrupted the network for several days, and that those without power at any point on Christmas Day would be guaranteed a goodwill payment of at least £75.
Those who were without electricity for 48 hours are eligible to receive £54, and further payments of £54 will be offered for each subsequent 12-hour period.
Since figures from Southern Electric, SSE’s regional office, estimate that 350 homes in the Aldershot area were still without power on the morning of December 27 and beyond , this offer could end up costing the company around £166,000.
However, the total payout is likely to exceed this, as the guaranteed £75 payments for Christmas Day are worth nearly £230,000 alone in this area.
Southern Electric managing director Mark Mathieson said: “I am immensely proud of the 500 engineers and support staff who worked with determination and dedication from early in the morning to late into the night throughout the festive period, including Christmas Day, restoring power to more than 130,000 customers, with around 95% of those who lost power early on Christmas Eve having their power restored the next day.”
He said that sophisticated weather monitoring systems had been used to allow plans to be put in place five or six days ahead of the storms hitting and the company had felt ‘very prepared’. The company also recently invested £90 million across its network, including financing maintenance and improvement work.
Mr Mathieson added: “Just as the Environment Agency cannot make flood defences bulletproof, we cannot wave a magic wand when major weather events hit. We can work seriously hard to get people back on power, and we did.”
He said customers had been ‘true heroes’ for their patience and the compensation offer exceeded statutory levels because it was an important time of year.
A consultation has been launched by the energy firm asking those affected by the power cuts what can be done to make power networks more resilient and what the company could do better if the same issues were to occur in the future.
Feedback can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org until March 28, before a report is published this summer.