Storms battered the UK over the Christmas period
Storms battered the UK over the Christmas period Reuters

The UK's under-fire power distributor has announced it will treble the compensation paid to customers who have been left without power following storms over the Christmas period.

UK Power Networks said it will increase the amount of compensation given to customers affected by the power cuts, from the industry standard £27 to £75, for customers who have been without power for more than 48 hours over the Christmas period.

UK Power Networks said it would compensate those affected by long-term cuts "as a gesture of goodwill". The company is a distributor of energy across the electricity network, and also owns electricity lines in London and the south east of England, where 1,000 homes are still without electricity.

More than 4,000 homes in the UK are still without power following storms on Monday and on Boxing Day, according to The Energy Networks Association. Around 5,000 homes are also without power across the Republic of Ireland.

Frustration grew yesterday as customers criticised power companies for failing to restore power to homes – some of which had been without electricity since Christmas Eve – and for a lack of information and communication.

ENA spokesman Tony Glover apologised to those affected by the storms, but highlighted the difficulties technicians had been facing.

He said: "The problem was that not only did we have a storm followed by torrential rain, but huge amounts of flooding afterwards. That impacted on our ability to get to the affected areas, and to get materials that we need.

"It meant that we were not able to get cherry pickers to replace and repair damaged infrastructure. We simply cannot put a cherry picker in the middle of a lake.

"We know that it is very tough and that it has been horrendous for people - I am not going to downplay it - but we are doing our best and working around the clock to help everyone who has been affected."

Prime Minister David Cameron has asked the Department for Communities and Local Government to ensure councils have robust plans in case of bad weather and flooding over New Year.

Ministers including the housing minister Kris Hopkins, energy minister Baroness Verma, business minister Lord Livingston and officials from the Environment Agency held a Cobra meeting "as part of the government's ongoing work to deal with the severe weather and floods".

The misery could be made even worse by predictions of further storms in the coming days. The Met Office has issued a yellow alert ahead of heavy rain and wind on Monday, as efforts to clear up damage caused by Christmas storms continue. The south-west of England, Wales and Scotland are expected to be the worst affected.