What compensation can you claim for weather disruption?
Many train operators have been running emergency timetables and cancelling trains. If your “new” train is delayed by 15 to 30 minutes, you may still be entitled to compensation under the standard rules. It depends on the operator.
On a single ticket, a passenger will typically receive 25% of the fare if the train is delayed by 15 minutes. If the delay reaches 30 minutes, the compensation rises to 50%, and if it’s over an hour you should be able to reclaim the whole cost. Precise arrangements vary according to train operator.
If you were due to travel to say Aberdeen from London, your train is cancelled and you decide not to travel, you can get a full refund. If you had a non-cancellable ticket with one operator, and failed to make that train because the connecting train was delayed, you can cite “network failure” and take the next available train. Get the guard to mark your ticket if possible. Don’t buy a new second leg, whatever the guard tries to claim.
Airlines have been cancelling flights across the country and the arrival of storm Emma on Thursday night is likely to ground even more planes.
If your flight is cancelled because of the snow you have the right to a full refund of the ticket, or to be rerouted home on a later flight.
You will not be entitled to delay or cancellation compensation under EU rules, because the snow is an extraordinary circumstance beyond the airline’s control. If you don’t take the refund and opt to be rerouted, and it means you are stuck at the airport overnight, the airline is duty bound to pay for a reasonably priced hotel room and meals.
The airline has to reroute you at the earliest opportunity, or at the passenger’s leisure, subject to the availability of seats.
If you choose to be rerouted or if your departure is delayed by more than two hours, airlines also have to provide assistance such as food. The airlines keep this quiet and getting the money out of the low-cost carriers can be hard work. Keep evidence of cancellations, all receipts, and use your mobile to video any offer to pay by airline staff.
Travel insurance rarely pays out if your flight is cancelled because of snow. Those who miss a flight because the bus or train to the airport failed because of bad weather can claim the cost of a new flight.
Inability to get to work/staying at home to look after children
This is a complicated area, but if you can’t get to work because of the snow, your employer doesn’t necessarily have to pay you provided its premises are open. Try to negotiate to work from home, if that is appropriate. Others may want to take the day as holiday.
The government says employers have to give you notice of at least twice as long as it wants you to take off. So if it wants you to take a day as holiday, you’d need two days’ notice.
If your child’s school is closed or your normal childcare arrangements are disrupted because of the snow, you may have the right to time off to look after your child. The government says this should be agreed with your employer.
If your electricity supply is cut for more than 24 hours then you could be due compensation, though it will depend on how the storm is graded by the regulator Ofgem.
If it decrees it a category one storm you’ll be eligible for £70 compensation if you have no energy supply for a continuous 24-hour period. A further £70 will be paid for each additional period of 12 hours in which supply is not restored, up to a total of £700.
If the storm is category two you’ll be eligible for £70 compensation if you have no energy supply for a continuous 48-hour period, plus £70 for every further 12 hours up to a total of £700.
The compensation won’t be paid until your supply has been restored. To make a claim, you’ll need to contact your electricity company within three months of getting your supply back.
I’m on benefits, can I get a cold weather payment?
During prolonged periods of cold weather, the state issues a cold weather payment to older people and those on certain benefits to help cover energy costs. These have been triggered in many areas.
If the average temperature in your area is, or is forecast to be, 0C or lower for seven days in a row between 1 November and 31 March, you’ll get £25 for every seven consecutive days of cold weather, and it’ll be paid automatically into the same account your benefits are paid into within 14 working days of the cold spell. You don’t need to apply for the help, but you can check the full eligibility criteria in your area using the government’s postcode checker.