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3 Dec 2021

Storm Arwen causes power cuts and travel disruption: power cut compensation cap lifted

Storm Arwen caused widespread disruption across the UK, bringing heavy snowfall. heavy rain and gusts of up to 100mph across the weekend

People across the UK have faced major disruption as Storm Arwen led to the closure of road and rail routes, and widespread power cuts.

The Met Office issued weather warnings in the early hours of Saturday, with parts of the country seeing 100mph gales and snow.

In addition to widespread travel disruption, thousands of homes were left without power.

Here, Which? explains your compensation and refund rights if you've been left out of pocket by the storm.

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1. Don't get left out of pocket by lengthy power cuts

Typically your electricity distribution company has 24 hours to restore your electricity supply if it fails due to a storm. Although after a severe storm like Arwen this deadline can be increased to 48 hours.

If power isn't restored by this deadline, £70 should be paid to customers, with a further £70 to be paid for each additional period of 12 hours in which supply is not restored, usually up to a cap of £700.

But the regulator, Ofgem, has lifted the £700 cap on compensation, which means households that are still without power can continue to claim up to £140 a day for every day they are without power.

The difference in classification between a storm and a severe storm is related to the number of supply faults experienced in a 24-hour period.

2. Don't get abandoned by the airline if your flight is disrupted

More than 300 flights were cancelled due to storm Arwen.

If, due to the storm, your flight is delayed by more than two hours or cancelled, your airline has a legal duty to look after you.

You're entitled to:

  • two free phone calls, faxes or emails,
  • free meals and refreshments appropriate to the delay,
  • free hotel accommodation and hotel transfers if an overnight stay is required.

However, you can't claim compensation, because extreme weather is an 'extraordinary circumstance', and a fair reason for a flight to be delayed or cancelled.

You can read more about your flight rights here.

Always check with your airline for any disruption before travelling to the airport.

3. Get back the cost of the ticket if your train travel is disrupted

Network Rail has said there has been widespread disruption across the UK due to Storm Arwen

Strong winds can damage overhead electric wires and tracks due to debris or trees falling onto the railway.

You might be able to make a delay repay claim and get back some or all of the cost of your ticket - unless the train company published an emergency timetable in response to the storm.

Or, if you decide not to travel due to severe delays, you will be able to claim a refund of the cost of your ticket. However, an administration charge of up to £10 on each ticket could be charged, and you will need to apply for the refund within 28 days of the expiry of the ticket's validity.

You can use our guide to make a train delay repay claim.

Passengers are urged to check for updates before they travel.