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How can you claim damages caused by a power failure?

The Netherlands has a fairly reliable electricity network. Nevertheless, on average, the Dutch experience a more protracted power failure once every three years. Amsterdam and the surrounding area suffered a major power failure in January. It became clear then how serious the consequences could be. Control rooms briefly became overloaded, trains across the country stopped running and cooling systems stopped working. But how can you claim for the damage suffered as a result of a power failure?

Causes and consequences of a power failure

A power failure can be caused, among other things, by an interruption in the power supply, work on the power grid or an abnormal voltage. It can also be caused by a broken cable during excavation work, for example, or by the fuses blowing in your home. The inconvenience experienced during a power failure is often very annoying, but material damage may also occur. The most common damage by far is the loss of the contents of the freezer or refrigerator due to decay.

damage due to power failure

Compensation scheme

A compensation scheme has been established in the event of a lengthy power outage. Under this scheme, the grid operator must give you financial compensation for power failures lasting longer than four hours. The compensation for an interruption of four hours amounts to €35. For every four hours that the power failure lasts longer, you will receive €20 extra. So if you have been without power for 19 hours, for example, you will be entitled to compensation from the grid operator of €35 + (3 x €20) = €95.

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If you are entitled to compensation, you do not have to apply for it yourself. Compensation is paid to you automatically by the grid operator. The compensation should not be regarded as compensation for damages, but rather as a concession for the inconvenience of an interruption.

Claiming damages on your contents insurance

Of course, it may happen that you suffer real damage as a result of a power failure. It is often very difficult to recover this damage from the grid operator. Often, you have a better chance with the contents insurer. However, the amount that the home contents insurer will reimburse can vary greatly. With some insurers, a claim can be made for a power failure from 4 hours, while with others it is only possible from 6 hours onwards. Some insurers compensate up to an amount of €250,- but there are also insurers who do not use a maximum amount. You can find out if and what amount you will receive in compensation for a power failure in the policy conditions of your home contents insurance.

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