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Energy firm facing £2m penalty for blackout

PUBLISHED: 12:58 10 June 2010 | UPDATED: 18:00 25 August 2010

AN electricity giant is facing a £2 million penalty nearly a year after a power cut that left thousands of people without power for THREE days.

AN electricity giant is facing a £2 million penalty nearly a year after a power cut that left thousands of people without power for THREE days.

On Monday (7), Energy regulator Ofgem announced it was minded’ to impose the penalty on EDF Energy.

The news followed an independent audit into the company’s handling of the outage affecting 94,000 customers in homes and businesses across Crayford, Bexleyheath, Erith, Orpington and Dartford from July 20 to 23.

An Ofgem spokesperson said: "The auditor concluded that although the company responded well in restoring the supplies, it could have done more to prevent the power cut from occurring. Ofgem is therefore minded to impose a revenue penalty of £2 million on EDF.”

Bexleyheath and Crayford MP David Evennett said: “I am disappointed that nearly a year after the incident occurred, we still appear to be some way from a resolution.

Ofgem’s consultation says that EDF Energy was at fault for not properly securing the site – as I have argued since last July, and the £2 million revenue penalty partly acknowledges this.

“I shall be writing to Ofgem accordingly. However, in my opinion, EDF Energy still needs to honour every claim for recompense under the Guaranteed Standards Scheme submitted to them.”

This provisional ruling, which is open to representations until July 7, when Ofgem will make its final decision, means customers who applied for compensation before the deadline of October 23 last year, are now likely to succeed with their claims.

However, EDF are only required to pay £50 compensation to domestic customers and £100 to non-domestic customers, if they were off-supply for 18 hours. They are also eligible to receive £25 for every successive 12 hours without supply.

An EDF spokesperson said: “We believe there are a number of inaccuracies in the report. We do not agree with the view of the Appointed Examiner and continue to maintain that this was an exceptional event. Ofgem is now consulting on this view and we will respond.”

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