How to get compensation for power cuts

There’s never a convenient time for a power cut, but if you find yourself stuck without power for a prolonged period, whether planned or not, you might be eligible for compensation.
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Room with power cut

In this guide:

  • How do I know if I can get electricity power cut compensation?

  • Who pays compensation for no electricity? 

  • Who is my electricity distribution company?

  • How much compensation for a power cut can I get?

  • Power cuts caused by bad weather

  • Claiming compensation for power cut recurrences

  • How long does electricity have to be off to claim compensation? 

  • Can I get compensation for no gas supply?

  • How to claim power cuts compensation

  • The Priority Services Register

How do I know if I can get electricity power cut compensation?

First, you’ll need to confirm that you’ve experienced a genuine power cut as opposed to just a problem with your own supply (for which you’re not entitled compensation). Here’s a quick-fire checklist to follow:

Updated 2 December 2020
What to checkWhat it might mean
Your neighbours and streetlights If it’s dark outside and your streetlights are also off, then there’s a good chance your local area is suffering from an electricity power cut. Confirm with your neighbours that they’ve suffered a power cut too.
The weather If it’s stormy or windy then it might be the reason behind a lack of power.
Is your whole house affected? If parts of your house still have power, check the fuse box. It’s possible a circuit has been tripped. You may need to flick all the affected circuits to the off position before the trip switch can be reset, then put them back on one at a time to restore power.
Are you up to date with paying your energy bills? If you’re on a prepayment meter, make sure your credit is in balance and you haven’t simply run out.

If you’re still unsure, there’s a simple freephone number you can call in England, Wales and Scotland that will confirm any power cuts in your area:

You should not call emergency services unless the power outage has resulted in a serious injury.

Who pays compensation for no electricity? 

The local electricity distribution company is responsible for fixing power cuts. This type of network operator owns, maintains, and operates the cables and towers that transfer electricity from the national network into your city, town, or village. As a result, they’ll be held responsible should there be a power cut in the area.

While your first impulse might be to call your energy supplier in the event of a power outage, it has no control over reconnecting your energy and no obligation to pay any compensation. 

Who is my electricity distribution company?

The Energy Network Association website can provide this information – scroll down the page to the ‘Find your network operator’ section, enter your postcode into the two boxes and click Find. You’ll be given a name and contact details to confirm who will be responsible for providing power cut compensation if it’s warranted. You should also be able to find this information on your energy bill. 

How much compensation for a power cut can I get?

This depends on several factors, including if the power cut was planned or unplanned, and how many homes were affected. If you’re eligible, compensation starts from £30, but can rise to several hundred pounds depending on the type of outage and how long it lasts. Compensation is split into two types – planned and unplanned:

Updated 2 December 2020
Type of outageCompensation
Planned £30, to be claimed within one month, if you’re not given adequate notice of the outage (a minimum of 48 hours).
Unplanned – fewer than 5,000 homes affected £75 for power cuts lasting more than 12 hours, £35 for each additional 12-hour period
Unplanned – more than 5,000 homes affected As above, but the claim is capped to £300

Power cuts caused by bad weather

If your house loses power due to severe weather, the following apply:

  • Category 1: Your distributor must restore the area’s supply within 24 hours – you can claim £70 if you are made to wait longer than this, and £70 for each consecutive 12-hour period thereafter.

  • Category 2: Your distributor must restore the supply within 48 hours, after which you can claim £70 plus an additional £12 for each consecutive 12-hour period following.

Power cut compensation made for weather-related issues is capped at £700. 

Compensation for no electricity due to faulty meters

If you are paying for your energy on a prepayment meter and you often experience a fault with it, you should contact your energy supplier. As a broken meter will cut off your power completely, it is the responsibility of your supplier to send out an engineer within three hours, or four hours if it’s a weekend. If your supplier fails to do so, you will earn £30 in compensation, and if this payment is late, you can also claim a further £30.

Claiming compensation for recurring power cuts

If you experience multiple unexplained power cuts that cannot be traced to your fuse box, then this suggests a possible issue with the supplier’s infrastructure. The process of claiming compensation is a bit more long-winded in these cases. 

You need to have experienced at least four occasions of power loss, for a duration of at least three hours across the course of a year. Depending on just how frequent these were, as well as how severe the cut was, you can claim between £30 - £75. Business customers will be able to claim up to £150.

How long does electricity have to be off before I can claim compensation? 

To claim for a single power cut, your power needs to be off for at least 12 hours, depending on the cause of the power cut. If you are eligible for compensation, you have a month to claim. 

Can I get compensation for no gas supply?

Yes, the company in charge of your gas supply will be the local gas transporter or network operator. You can find out who that is on the Energy Network Association website.

Planned gas cuts

If your gas supply is cut off as part of planned works but you did not receive five days’ notice, you can claim an initial £30. If you continue to be without gas for a further 24 hours, you can claim another £30 and so on until your gas supply is restored.

How to claim power cuts compensation

If you have experienced one or more power cuts, here’s how to start claiming power cut compensation. 

  • Contact your gas transporter or electricity distributor with details of your power cut – you can also request to have your compensation paid directly to your account, as generally compensation will come in the form of energy supplier credit.

  • You should be paid in 10 days. If you experience delays, you can also claim £30 compensation for late payment.

  • If you are meeting obstacles in getting your compensation paid, the Energy Ombudsman may be able to step in.

The Priority Services Register

The Priority Services Register (PSR) is a service offered by networks and suppliers. It aims to ensure that vulnerable people are given the help they need in situations like power cuts. You can call and add yourself or someone you know to the PSR of your supplier or network if you are one of the following:

  • Receiving a pension

  • Disabled or chronically ill

  • Living with a long-term medical condition

  • Living with hearing, visual or communication impairments

  • Live in a vulnerable situation – for example, mental health conditions

If you are on the PSR, your power failure compensation claim should start automatically without any need for you to inform your electricity distributor.

Last updated: 2 December 2020