Thousands of Victorians to get blackout compensation

More than 50,000 Victorians affected by power outages during a heatwave in January will receive compensation.

Customers that lost power for three hours or more on January 28 will be given a once-off payment of up to $180 by the end of February.

Powercor, CitiPower, United Energy, Ausnet Services and Jemena will provide a $5 million package to around 50,000 people who lost power on January 28 – the day networks recorded their highest ever residential demand for a Sunday.

Victorian Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said the government is working with the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) to ensure the state’s energy needs are met during extreme weather events.

“We know how frustrating this was for many Victorians – affected customers deserve to be compensated for the inconvenience and we made sure that happened,” Ms D’Ambrosio said.

“We’ve worked with the private power distribution companies to deliver this for thousands of customers affected by this extreme weather event.

“Network businesses will bear the full costs of this package and I’m pleased they’ve gone above and beyond the regulatory rules to support their customers.”

The chief executives for Powercor, CitiPower, United Energy, Ausnet Services and Jemena said, in a joint statement, customers receiving the heat relief payments should expect to be reimbursed directly by the network businesses by the end of February in the form of direct mailed cheques.

“We have worked with the Victorian Government to develop a special, one-off heat relief package that recognises the oppressively hot and humid conditions experienced on the day,” the chief executives said.

“We are sympathetic to people who lost power on that Sunday and importantly we recognise the inconvenience and discomfort this has caused our customers, particularly those who were without power for a sustained period of time.

“Our focus now is on working with government to identify and put in place sensible solutions – such as opt-in demand management – that prevents similar events on our networks in the future and do not drive up costs for our customers.”

Customers who were off supply between three and 20 hours will receive $80 while those between 20 and 30 hours or more will receive up to $180 – the equivalent of around three to seven months off their annual distribution charge.