About 16,000 customers of two power suppliers are in line for a share of £3.3million, to compensate them for problems which left them without energy for more than 48 hours last winter.
Energy regulator Ofgem, which has ordered the payout, has also given Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) and UK Power Networks (UKPN) notice that any repeat of the disruption will leave them facing further penalties.
As a result of last winter’s problems, Ofgem has said that its minimum payment to consumers who lose their power in bad weather will rise by more than two and a half times, from £27 to £70.
The maximum compensation payable is also to rise, from £216 to £700, and the regulator has said it wants to be able to make payments under the scheme automatic where possible.
Senior partner for distribution at Ofgem, Maxine Frerk, said on Thursday: “A power cut at Christmas time is the last thing anyone needs.
“While we recognise the hard work of the companies and their staff who were out working to reconnect customers during the severe weather, the companies could have done more to plan for the weather and keep customers informed ... network companies need to learn the lessons of last winter.”
Along with payments already made by the power companies to compensate for the problems, it takes the total compensation awarded to £8million, according to the Telegraph.