How to get money back if you’ve had a power cut or supply problem and help if you’re struggling to pay your bill.
What you need to know about your energy rights
- You can claim between £90 and £300 for electricity power cuts of more than 12 hours in normal weather conditions.
- You can claim between £80 and £2,000 for electricity power cuts of more than 24 hours in severe weather conditions.
- You could claim at least £60 for every 24 hours of unplanned interruptions to your gas supply.
- Suppliers have six weeks from a switch to send you the final bill and 10 working days from a final bill to refund a credit balance.
- Speak to your energy supplier first if you get cut off because of a faulty meter, you’ve run out of prepayment meter credit or you’re struggling to pay your bill.
In this guide
Your rights to compensation for power cuts
Your network operator (the company that brings energy to your home) is responsible for maintaining your energy supply and fixing power cuts. If your gas or electricity goes off then you may be entitled to compensation.
The amount you will be eligible to receive depends on how long the power cut lasts and if it was the network company’s fault. You could get between £90 and £300 in the event of a power cut in normal weather conditions and between £80 and £2,000 in severe weather.
You won’t be entitled to compensation if the power cut was caused by an emergency that wasn’t the fault of your gas or electricity network operator – for example, a blackout due to a national power shortage.
You will need to speak to your energy supplier (the company that bills you) if you get cut off because of a faulty energy meter or because you’ve run out of prepayment meter credit.
How to report a power cut
If you experience a power cut you weren’t expecting you can report it by calling 105, which will connect you with your local network operator, or by reporting it online via the National Grid website.
Compensation for power cuts in normal weather conditions
Your local network operator has up to 24 hours to fix the problem if your power gets cut off where more than 5,000 homes are affected by the fault.
You can claim compensation if you are cut off for more than 12 hours:
|Length of power cut||Level of compensation|
|12 hours to 24 hours||£90|
|Each additional 12 hours||£40 for each 12 hours up to £300|
Compensation for power cuts in severe weather conditions
You can claim compensation if you lose your supply in severe weather, this varies according to the severity and the length of time you were without power:
|Weather conditions||Length of power cut||Level of compensation|
|Storm category 11||24 hours||£80 and an extra £40 for every 6 hours afterwards, up to £2,000|
|Storm category 22||48 hours||£80 and an extra £40 for every 6 hours afterwards, up to £2,000|
1 Very dangerous winds of between 74 and 95 mph
2 Extremely dangerous winds of between 96 and 110 mph
Compensation if your gas supply goes off
You can claim at least £40 if your gas supply goes off without seven days’ notice due to planned work. You can claim at least £60 for every 24 hours of unplanned interruptions to your gas supply.
How to claim compensation for power cuts
You have up to three months to claim compensation for unplanned power outages and up to a month for planned supply cuts when you were given notice. You make your claim through your gas or electricity network company.
You can find out who your gas or electricity network operator is by using the Energy Networks Association search tool.
Claiming back credit on your energy bill
If you’ve paid more than you’ve used then your energy supplier will owe you money. You can choose to build up this credit to spread your energy costs over the year or claim it back from your supplier. You can ask for a refund anytime.
If you’ve closed your account, suppliers have six weeks from a switch to automatically send you the final bill and 10 working days from a final bill to refund a credit balance. You could be eligible for compensation if your supplier doesn’t do this.
What to do if you’re struggling to pay your energy bills
Speak to your energy supplier first if you’re struggling or think you will struggle to pay your energy bill. They must work with you to help agree a payment plan you can afford, according to Ofgem – the energy regulator – rules.
You can ask your supplier for more time to pay, a review of your payments or for payment breaks. Your supplier might also be able to offer you a scheme or a grant to help with your heating and energy costs.
Extra support services for vulnerable customers
The Priority Services Register is a free support service that provides extra help for people who are considered vulnerable. Help ranges from getting priority and extra support if you have a power cut to getting help with your meter readings.
You can join either via thepsr.co.uk or by contacting your energy supplier or your energy network operator.
How to complain about energy company
Contact your supplier or network operator first with any problem you might have – whether it’s customer service problem or something to do with your bill or meter. Explain the problem and tell them what you would like them to do to fix it.
Your supplier has up to 8 weeks to fix the problem or up to the point you’re told the problem can’t be resolved. At this point you can escalate your complaint to the Energy Ombudsman. The Ombudsman can step in to ask your supplier to fix the problem or pay compensation.
Citizens Advice provides an Extra Help Unit to raise complaints with energy suppliers on behalf of people who may be considered vulnerable or at risk of disconnection.