22 Oct 10

EDF Energy Networks’ response to the Dartford incident

“EDF Energy Networks again extends its apologies for the disruption to customers following the fire caused by criminal damage in Dartford last year.

“This was an illegal attack on the network which disrupted and inconvenienced local communities for several days and cost EDF Energy Networks millions of pounds.

“After looking at all the evidence, Ofgem has concluded that this was an exceptional event beyond EDF Energy Networks’ control.

“Ofgem recognised that we successfully managed the incident, limited the number of customers affected and restored supplies as quickly and efficiently as possible in very extreme circumstances.

“Ofgem’s decision means no penalty or fine under the Interruption Incentive Scheme (IIS) that is used to measure the quality of electrical supply that a customer receives.

“However, we recognise the disruption caused and, on top of the goodwill payments already given to customers, will pay another £700,000 to be distributed amongst more than 12,000 of the worst-affected customers.

“We will also set up a community fund to give £750,000 to local causes to benefit residents and will work closely with Dartford and Bexley councils to agree the best way of doing this.

“Since the incident we have carried out a full security review of this and similar sites to ensure that we achieve best practice in this area going forward.

“Security remains a priority for EDF Energy Networks and we do all we can to make sure our networks, which serve nearly eight million customers, are as secure and reliable as possible. We have thousands of sites, including nearly 70,000 substations, 127,000km of underground cables and 47,700km of overhead lines.

“Metal theft is currently a global problem, driven by the rising price and high demand for metal across the world. Work is being carried out nationally by the police to understand the extent of the crime across the UK.

“Customers are asked to report any suspicious activity to police or our Substation Watch hotline on 0800 587 3243. Substation Watch is a partnership between EDF Energy Networks, Neighbourhood Watch schemes and police to use the eyes and ears of the community to help prevent accidents, trespassing, fly tipping, vandalism and damage to equipment.

“We are writing to customers who may be entitled to extra goodwill payments and explaining how they can apply.

“About half of the worst-affected customers are being invited to claim another £75 on top of the £50 already paid. Several thousand will be able to claim £25 or £50, while several hundred will be able to claim £100 or £125 instead, depending on how long they were off supply.

“We will be holding drop-in sessions in the Dartford area next week to answer questions and to help people fill in forms to apply for these additional goodwill payments. We have also set up a freephone information hotline - 0800 587 2263.”

The drop-in sessions will be:

Monday, October 25 – 10am to 2pm

Howbury Centre

Slade Green Road


Tuesday, October 26 – 4pm to 7pm

Mendelson Suite

Acacia site

High Street


Wednesday, October 27 – 10am to 4pm

Erith Library

High Street


Also at the Civic Centre