16 Jan Claim for damages as a result of an electric outage
The interruptions of the electrical supply are likely to cause numerous damages in most businesses, factories, ships, etc. Those affected by it have actions to claim against the companies that own the distribution networks and are obliged to supply.
The electricity sector is one of the most heavily regulated areas in most legal systems. The current Law 24/2013 of the Electric Sector has increased the rights of consumers, and in addition it allows them to choose between directly contracting energy in the market or making agreements with a marketer, there are obligations for distributors relating to constancy, quality of supply. And of course, a quicker procedure of resolution regarding claims.
It is also essential to mention Royal Decree 1955/2000, of 1 December, regulating the activities of transportation, distribution, marketing, supply and authorization procedures of electric power facilities.
As the Law of the Electricity Sector qualifies the subjects that participate in the electric market according to whether they are producers, transporters, commercialized … imposes rights and obligations to each of them as we said.
The owners of the distribution networks have, among others, the following obligations:
- They are responsible for construction, operation, maintenance and, if necessary, the development of their distribution network.
- Proceed with the expansion of distribution facilities when necessary to meet new demands for electricity supply.
- Establish and execute maintenance plans for the facilities of your distribution network.
- Provide supply with quality parameters regulated by regulations, which means that interruptions that exceed certain thresholds or that are not justified by law are not acceptable.
The one regarding the quality and the constancy of the supply is the most important, because in cases in which the suppliers or distributors attempt to exempt from all responsibility by claiming force majeure. As it has been repeatedly stated by courts in recent cases, which has analyzed and interpreted energy law, interruption in supply, or poor quality of it, can only be attributed to three factors: causes stipulated in the contract (such as non-payment); Scheduled outage (requiring prior administrative authorization and communication to users), or force majeure.
Therefore, it is completely relevant an expert report that dictates:
-The causes of the interruption, and to determine the hours or minutes of it.
-The production of the damages and their causal relation with the interruption of the electrical supply.
-Identification of the disconnection center or installation causing the interruption.
Finally, it is critical that our own facilities comply with current regulations (have complementary equipment or preventive measures) for the supplier company does not cause us to breach our obligations.
If your company has been affected by a power outage, seek legal advice from professionals knowledgeable about the electricity sector, and the obligations and rights of suppliers and consumers.