BRITAIN is bracing for Storm Bella as the Met Office issues weather warnings for today – we explain how to claim compensation if your power goes out.
Storm Bella is expected to bash the south coast with up to 80mph winds today, sparking warnings of damage to buildings, flying debris and flooding.
There are currently five yellow weather warnings in place for the whole of England and Wales as well as the far south of Scotland.
An amber national severe weather warning – indicating a threat to life – has also been issued for parts of south Wales.
The Met Office said about the amber weather warning: "Storm Bella will bring disruption to travel and utilities over parts of south and southeast England and south Wales.
"Flying debris is likely and could lead to injuries or danger to life.
"Injuries and danger to life are likely from large waves and beach material being thrown onto coastal roads, sea fronts and properties."
How to prepare for a power cut
IF you’re worried about a power cut and there are weather warnings in your area, there are some things you can do to prepare.
The below tips are from the Energy Networks Association:
- Keep a mobile phone fully charged
- If you experience a power cut, call 105 for free
- Keep a torch handy in case you are without power during the night
- Have warm clothes and blankets accessible
- Check on vulnerable neighbours
If you see a fallen power line or dangerous situation involving electricity infrastructure, stay away and call 105.
If there is an immediate risk to life, dial 999.
Am I entitled to compensation if Storm Bella leaves me without power?
If you find yourself without power for more than 24 hours, you should be entitled to £70 compensation.
A further £70 can then be claimed for each additional 12-hour period where supply isn't restored, up to a maximum amount of £700.
However, the initial time frame for compensation extends to 48 hours without power in the case of a "severe" storm – although the amount of money back you can get remains the same at £70.
According to consumer group Which?, the difference is defined by how many cases of supply outages are reported over 24 hours.
Energy regulator Ofgem said a storm is defined as "severe" if it causes more than 12 times the average daily number of faults.
At the moment, there aren’t any reports of Storm Bella causing power outages in the UK.
But according to the Energy Networks Association, companies are making preparations in case the bad weather impacts power supplies.
On its website, the ENA said: “The energy networks are very resilient and built to withstand severe weather.
“Preparations are being made in case the weather interrupts your electricity supply.”
It continued: “Network operators are taking steps like arranging for extra staff to be available and moving vehicles and equipment to strategic locations.”
How do I claim compensation?
You should be paid compensation automatically if you're on the priority register, according to Citizens Advice.
If you're not on this register and you think you might be entitled, contact your local electricity distributor.
You can find your local distributor on the Energy Networks Association website.
This will need to be done within three months of the supply being fixed.
This cash will go directly into the credit or debit account you pay your energy bills from, or you'll receive a cheque.
If you have a prepayment meter, how you get paid might vary.
Some suppliers can credit the meter directly, while others will send you a cheque or vouchers.
You can also contact the free Energy Ombudsman if you're not happy with the outcome of your claim.
Households should be paid compensation within ten days.
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