Bexley council leader slams watchdog's decision into EDF power cut
PUBLISHED: 16:32 25 October 2010
Bosses at an energy watchdog have been slammed for failing to order EDF Energy to pay out residents in full for the massive power cut last year.
Bexley council leader Teresa O’Neill has labelled Ofgem’s decision not to fine EDF Energy or order them to pay out any compensation for leaving residents and traders across Dartford and Bexley without power for days, in July last year, as ‘disgraceful’.
Ofgem ruled last Friday (22) that the loss of power for several days was an exceptional event beyond the control of EDF. It decided against imposing any penalty or fine on the electricity supplier.
Councillor O’Neill said: “I know that many local people will be disappointed both with Ofgem’s ruling and the length of time it has taken to reach its decision.
“We made a strong argument that EDF was at least partly responsible for failing to secure the supply network and I know how much some residents and business people lost as a result of being without power.”
After a meeting with Bexley council and EDF managers, the company agreed to share a further £700,000 to more than 11,000 customers who were worst affected by the incident. These people were without power for the entire period that supplies were disrupted and many have already received an initial payment from EDF.
EDF also agreed to pay Bexley and Dartford councils £375,000 each to set up a community fund to benefit local residents. Bexley has already decided to put this money towards the cost of the new Europa Gym Centre in Crayford, which is in the area affected by the power cut.
Councillor O’Neill said: “I am disappointed that EDF is not willing to compensate more of its customers, but I accepted their offer because I would like to see some good come out of the incident.
“The new Europa Gym Centre will be a wonderful asset to the community. The contribution from the new fund will help provide a long-term benefit to local people.”
EDF has written to customers who may be entitled to its extra goodwill payments to let them know how they can apply.
A spokesperson for Ofgem refused to comment on the comments made by councillor O’Neill.
Call Bexley council’s freephone information hotline on 0800 587 2263 for information on how to apply.