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Energy / SSEN to make ‘goodwill’ compensation payment after locals quiz restoration time

A photo from SSEN Distribution of December's power disruption.

SOME Shetland residents are set to receive more compensation for December’s power disruption after an apparent brief restoration in supply lasting just six minutes meant they lost out on half a day’s payment.

Under national regulations people receive £70 for continuous power interruptions lasting more 48 hours, with a further £70 for every subsequent 12-hour period they were off.

But a number of people in the Hillswick area were left confused when they received their compensation cheque and letter, which claimed their power was restored on the evening of Thursday 15 December.

Some said they never noticed the power going back on then, and that supply only resumed as normal the next day.

SSEN since said power was restored on 15 December for six minutes before going off again. But that was long enough to effectively reset the compensation clock, meaning folk missed out on a further payment of £70.

James Titcomb, who lives at Swarthoull between Hillswick and Urafirth, said he did not believe the power was restored when SSEN said it did.

Significant power disruption was experienced across Shetland due to snow and ice affecting overhead lines, with many properties without electricity for days.

Titcomb said SSEN claimed power was off at his property between 4.28pm on 12 December and 7.13pm on 15 December.

However, Titcomb claimed this was incorrect, suggesting the power was restored around lunchtime on 16 December.

He said he and his wife were present at their house when the power supposedly went back on briefly.

“If there is a power cut you’re obviously aware if it comes on, even for a peerie while,” Titcomb said. “It definitely didn’t come on.

“Our lights were still turned on in the house. If the power had come on, we’d have absolutely seen it.”

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He also said logs from servers run in his home office appeared to show power resuming on the 16th.

But there is now something of a little victory for the residents who brought the matter with SSEN after the electricity giant said it would count the disruption as continuous – meaning they will receive more payment.

A spokesperson said: “All payments issued to customers in Shetland are in line with the guaranteed standards of compensation as set out by Ofgem, which stipulate that the length of time without power must be continuous.

“On further review of fault records, we have identified a small number of customers who were reconnected for a very short period before losing power from a secondary fault.

“As a gesture of goodwill, we have agreed to treat this as one continuous outage and will now process a supplementary payment to affected customers as a priority.”

The matter had also been taken up by Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart.

“The recent power cuts in Shetland proved the vulnerability of Shetland’s infrastructure. We need to ensure that we have greater resilience to help limit similar incidents in the future,” she said.

“Many across Shetland will be entitled to compensation from SSEN for a lack of power over 48 hours. Some people are missing out on compensation because short reconnections to the power supply have ‘reset’ the clock on payments.

“After representations to SSEN, I have had some success with households now due to receive full payments in the coming weeks despite a short reconnection. Anyone who feels they may miss out on full compensation should contact my office.”

SSEN previously said more than £600,000 in total was due to be given out in compensation to Shetland residents.

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