Network firm bosses set to face scrutiny

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MPs are to question the bosses of the UK’s energy network companies over the length of time it took to restore power to homes affected by storms over Christmas.

More than 150,000 homes were cut off after strong winds, torrential rain and flooding caused damage to power networks.

Many were left without electricity for up to five days, and company bosses will have to explain to MPs why it took so long to restore power, the Daily Telegraph said.

Tim Yeo, chairman of the Commons Energy Select Committee, told the newspaper: “I’m very concerned about how long the network distribution companies took to restore power to thousands of customers. The committee will call them in when the House gets back.

“I’m already concerned that these distribution companies are not properly scrutinised by Ofgem, despite being effectively monopolies. Their performance over Christmas was unacceptable.”

Mr Yeo said the committee would probably consider the compensation on offer for those left without power, as well as network companies’ contingency plans.

Basil Scarsella, chief executive of UK Power Networks, has admitted that it was not prepared for the storm and too many staff were on holiday. The company, which owns electricity lines and cables in London, the South East and east of England, said it will increase payments for 48 to 60-hour outages from £27 to £75 for those affected on Christmas Day.