Select Committee on Northern Ireland Affairs Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum submitted by Northern Electric plc

  The number of customers who lost supply as a direct result of system damage due to the weather conditions was 120,000. This is 8.3 per cent of the customers connected to our distribution systems. Forty thousand of the 120,000 were affected more than once due to system switching.

  The percentage restored within the times you indicate are:
3 hours3-12 hours 12-24 hours24-48 hours 48-72 hours72 hours
73.892.396.6 99.399.96100

  The level of payment made by way of compensation was £50 for 24 hours off supply, and £25 for each subsequent 12 hours off supply. This payment was made on receipt of a claim by a customer.

  The nature of any storm damage is always unique to that individual event. In this instance Northern suffered damage primarily in the Northumberland area, and not, as Northern Ireland did, across its whole territory. The extent of the damage in this storm was particularly challenging as it hit at all voltage levels on the network with numerous faults being created between a customer and a bulk supply point. In circumstances of this nature supply can only be fully resolved over a prolonged period. Indeed, during the early part of the storm it was too dangerous for staff to address the faults.

23 March 1999

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