Gas leak aftermath: who pays homes and how worries after supply loss

Energy customers in a small property are still thanking their lucky stars after a visitor smelled gas in the front garden. 

Thanks to swift action by the network operator’s emergency service, a leak from a hole in the pipe connecting the property to street was detected and a potential explosion was averted so everyone stayed safe.

The system worked as it should with SGN, the operator in charge of the pipework in that area of south London, cutting off the supply and temporarily evacuating the tenants of the five flats.

They were allowed to return the next day and given heaters and hot plates. Repairs and renewals took nine days. During the course of the work engineers were readily available, explaining how it was proceeding. 

So far so good and unplanned works such as these are eligible for compensation. 

Don’t miss… Ofgem blasted for £94 energy cap jump in mid-winter

But when the tenants tried to find out where they stood, amounts and details seemed to vary, they told Crusader.

Following our inquiry to help settle the matter, regulator Ofgem explained: “Network operators are responsible for paying compensation to consumers that are cut off power, and will contact them directly to offer the option to be paid by cheque or bank transfer. They are expected to do this as soon as practicable.”

Payments should be made automatically to consumers on the Priority Service Register (PSR), and network operators should not wait until they receive a claim. Non-PSR consumers should also be paid compensation automatically. 

They are encouraged to contact their network operator and submit a claim if they have not heard from them within a month. Any indication payments are being delayed unnecessarily, Ofgem will investigate.

For unplanned interruptions, consumers are entitled to at least £60 for every 24 hours the supply is cut off, with potentially more if the time is longer. Claims need to be within three months. Any complaints should go to the Energy Ombudsman and if the customer is still unhappy Ofgem can determine the dispute.

Two of the tenants, with suppliers EDF and Shell Energy, have been refunded £690 and £630 respectively. 

Another, Miriam Laker, is an Octopus Energy customer. When we checked how her case was doing, Octopus said:  

“Yes, we will provide Miriam the compensation she is due by SGN. We have not yet received compensation from SGN as it can take up to six weeks, but once we have received it we will add it to Miriam’s account. 

“Once the compensation is in, she can refund it to her bank account. We make it as easy as possible for customers to refund credit – and we’re the only large energy supplier that enables customers to refund credit themselves directly from their account online or in the app”. 

Miriam’s name has been changed

Severe weather events victims: Ofgem has raised the storm compensation cap for loss of supply from £700 to £2,000. Read about it here. 

If you’ve been affected by this issue or feel you’ve been a victim of injustice, please contact consumer champion Maisha Frost on [email protected]

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