Kent

EDF faces £2m penalty over Dartford power cut

The bridge over Dartford Creek where the fire broke out
Image caption Thousands of homes were left without power for up to three days

EDF Energy faces a £2m penalty over its handling of a three-day power cut which affected 94,000 Kent and London homes.

People in Dartford, Orpington, Erith, Bexleyheath and Crayford were left without power in July after a suspected vandalism attack on a cable bridge.

In an interim report energy regulator Ofgem said EDF Energy could have done more to prevent the power cut.

The firm said it was "an exceptional event" and it did all it could to stop supplies being cut.

The report said EDF Energy should have done more to make sure the site at Dartford Creek was secure, including making more frequent inspections.

A spokeswoman for Ofgem said: "The auditor concluded that although the company responded well in restoring the supplies, it could have done more to prevent the power cut from occurring.

"Ofgem has reviewed the company's statement of fact, the auditor's report and other relevant information and agrees with the auditor's conclusion.

"Ofgem is therefore minded to impose a revenue penalty of £2m on EDF Energy Networks under the incentive scheme."

EDF Energy now has until 7 July to respond.

'Inaccuracies' claim

In a statement, the company said: "We are pleased that the initial consultation document concludes the incident was outside EDF Energy Networks' control and welcome the recognition that we responded well to the incident.

"However, we believe there are a number of inaccuracies in the report.

"We do not agree with the view of the appointed examiner and continue to maintain that this was an exceptional event. Ofgem is now consulting on this view and we will respond."

Following the power cut, EDF Energy offered a goodwill payment of £50 to properties left without electricity for more than 24 hours.

In December Kent Police said the facts were unclear as evidence had been destroyed by fire and work done to restore power.

The fire on the bridge over Dartford Creek damaged four major electricity circuits on 20 July, affecting homes, businesses, petrol stations and Darent Valley Hospital in Dartford.

Hundreds of engineers and staff were involved in the response to the power cut, and generators were brought in from Scotland, Bristol and Great Yarmouth.

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