'Big Six' Energy Chiefs to Face Parliament Over Christmas Storm Outages (Photo: Reuters)
'Big Six' Energy Chiefs to Face Parliament Over Christmas Storm Outages (Photo: Reuters)

The 'Big Six' energy company chiefs will give evidence to British politicians over why it took so long to restore power to thousands of customers after the Christmas storm outages.

Energy Select Committee Chairman Tim Yeo says that the 'Big Six' energy groups, which account for 99% of the UK market, will have to answer for their "unacceptable performance".

"I'm very concerned about how long the network distribution companies took to restore power to thousands of customers. The Committee will call them in when the House gets back," said Yeo in a media statement.

"I'm already concerned that these distribution companies are not properly scrutinised by Ofgem, despite being effectively monopolies. Their performance over Christmas was unacceptable."

The storm that hit Britain from Christmas Eve left around 50,000 homes without electricity for five days, after torrential rain and wind brought down power lines.

UK Power Networks recently admitted that the group, which supplies eight million households and businesses in the south east of England, "could and should have done more" to restore power.

The group has now nearly trebled the compensation for homeowners who were without power for between 48 and 60 hours over Christmas from £27 to £75.

Britain's biggest energy companies are already under close parliamentary scrutiny after they all unveiled eye watering price hikes.

In tandem, opposition leader Ed Miliband pledged to freeze energy prices until 2017 if the Labour Party wins the general election in two years.

Three months after this promise, the coalition government pledged to cut energy bills by £50 a year, via a raft of measures.