SSE and UKPN pay out £8 million following Christmas storms

Publication date
24th July 2014
Information type
Policy area

We have today secured an additional £3.3 million from SSE and UKPN after our investigation into the companies’ performance during the exceptional storms last Christmas in the south of England. This is in addition to the £4.7 million already paid out to consumers under the guaranteed standards and in goodwill payments. This brings the total paid out by the companies to £8 million.

Our findings showed that while SSE and UKPN’s southern arms were particularly badly hit by the storms, they could have done more to get customers reconnected faster and to keep them better updated on what was happening. In light of these findings, the companies have agreed to make donations totalling £3.3 million to organisations like British Red Cross, which play an important role in helping vulnerable customers during power cuts and severe weather.

Britain experienced severe storms over Christmas 2013 with power cuts affecting nearly a million homes. Both SSE and UKPN experienced the brunt of the weather but agree that there are lessons to learn from their performance during this period. Around 16,000 customers were left without power for more than 48 hours. The companies have recognised that they must improve their procedures for any future major interruption and we have today put the industry on notice that any repeat of last year’s performance issues will trigger further action.

We have also today confirmed improvements to the guaranteed standards payments made to customers who face long power cuts in severe weather. These will come in to force in April 2015 and will include:

  • more than doubling the minimum financial payment to £70 from £27 if consumers are without power for at least 24hours during a severe weather event
  • substantially increasing the cap for payments made to customers from £216 to £700
  • making automatic payments to affected customers, when possible​

Increasing the payments for customers affected during severe weather will further strengthen the incentives for the companies to act quickly and reconnect customers as soon as possible.

Find out more in our press release: SSE and UKPN pay out £8 million following Christmas storms