Memorandum submitted by South Western
Between Christmas and the New Year period we
had a total of 19,000 customers who experienced a loss of supply
as a result of severe weather conditions. Over 95 per cent of
these customers were restored within three hours and no customers
were off supply for more than 24 hours. We received a small number
of claims for compensation, and, although these claims were outside
the guidelines of OFFER's standards which only apply when a customer
is off supply for more than 24 hours, each claim was treated sympathetically.
You may also be interested in the following
information on our performance during severe weather at the start
of 1998, which is perhaps closer to that experienced by NIE last
Christmas. On this occasion SWEB had over 110,000 customers off
supply (about 10 per cent of our customer base) covering an area
of 14,400 sq km (NIE is about 14,100 sq km). Winds of over 100
mph were recorded and lightning was present for 50 per cent of
the time. This hampers restoration as it is not safe to work on
the network in these conditions.
A summary is as follows:
|Number of customers affected||110,000
|Number of systems faults||6,218
|Restored within 3 hours||68.36 per cent
|Restored within 6 hours||84.46 per cent
|Restored within 12 hours||94.44 per cent
|Restored within 24 hours||98.02 per cent
|Restored within 48 hours||99.2 per cent
All customers were restored within 72 hours.
With regard to compensation claims from customers, we adopted
a proactive approach and issued the attached news release. It
encouraged customers who believed they had suffered an undue loss
to contact SWEB to have their claim considered. Each claim was
treated sympathetically on its merits and we dealt with 2,900
claims relating to the storm.
Although this approach led to a higher cost per claim than
paying out standard sums, we believe that it was an appropriate
way to compensate customers in these extraordinary conditions.
This method was supported by the Consumers Committee, local OFFER
and many politicians.
10 March 1999
SWEB TO GIVE SYMPATHETIC CONSIDERATION TO STORM VICTIMS
SWEB announced today that it will give sympathetic consideration
to those who suffered an undue loss from storms that battered
the West Country on Sunday, 4 January. Customers who were still
off supply as of 7.00 am on Tuesday, 6 January are invited to
submit a letter detailing their loss by 30 January.
"While we could have sought a total severe weather exemption,
we have made this unprecedented offer in the interest of customer
satisfaction," said Derek Lickorish, Director of Customer
Service and External Affairs. In explaining the Tuesday, 6 January
time frame, Lickorish said that, "Extremely hazardous, and
in many cases life threatening conditionswith the presence
of dangerous lightning and high windsprevented our crews
from conducting the extensive repair work that was needed until
first light on Monday."
"While we were able to restore approximately 60 per
cent of customers who had lost supply on Sunday night by re-routing
our high-voltage circuits, through extensive fuse replacement
and switching, the more time consuming work such as replacing
snapped poles and damaged conductors could not begin until Monday
morning," Lickorish said.
Customers who feel they have suffered an undue loss and wish
to have their claim considered, may write to SWEB at the following
address: Storm Claims; SWEB Sowton Office; Osprey Road, Exeter,
Devon EX2 7HZ.
9 January 1998