Interruption of power supply to an industrial enterprise (outage): causes, consequences, prevention and appeal

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Protecting the interests of an industrial consumer of electrical energy
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Every electric power consumer may encounter a complete or partial interruption of power supply (disconnection), which consists in disconnecting his electrical installation from the power system by means of appropriate switching equipment without dismantling elements of the power supply networks.

The purpose of disconnection is to stop the ability to consume electricity in order to force the consumer to comply with certain requirements. Direct disconnection is carried out by the personnel of the system operator (hereinafter - the SO) on their own initiative or on behalf of other market participants.

Such disconnection can have particularly severe consequences for industrial enterprises, which must ensure uninterrupted operation of all their systems.

Since disconnection is a rather effective and widespread means of influencing the consumer, awareness of its causes, procedures and ways to counteract it will be very useful. We provide advocacy services for industrial power users, so today we’ll share our experience in the article.

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Reasons for disconnecting industrial users from electricity supply

Consumer disconnection can be initiated by the following market participants in the following cases:

1)      The SO, with at least 5 working days’ notice, for the reason of:

  • the consumer has no personnel to service the electrical installation or a contract for its maintenance. It is carried out by the prescription of the State Inspectorate for Power Monitoring of Utilization Modes of Electrical and Heat Energy;
  • Consumer does not allow the SO representatives to visit the electric installation to perform the functions prescribed by applicable law (control inspection of the metering unit, technical inspection, etc.);
  • Non-compliance with the justified requirements to bring the metering equipment in the proper technical condition;
  • Debts to the SO for the services on distribution (transmission) of electric power;
  • Failure to pay the cost of unaccounted electric power;
  • Failure to comply with the instructions of the State Inspectorate for Power Monitoring of Utilization Modes of Electrical and Heat Energy to bring the power installations into proper technical condition;
  • Absence of a contract between the consumer and the SO;
  • Absence of a contract between the consumer and the electricity supplier;
  • Consumer’s violation of the Rules for protection of the electric networks.

2) Electricity supplier (with at least 10 working days’ notice), if:

  • There is an arrears in payment for consumed electric power;
  • The supplier was not allowed to check the energy metering equipment.

Separately, it should be noted that in some cases, after drawing up the act, the SO may conduct disconnection without a notice. They include:

  • unauthorized connection of current collectors by the consumer;
  • increase in the amount of power in excess of the amount defined by the terms of the contract;
  • connection of current collectors outside the means of accounting (only unaccountable connection is subject to disconnection, or, if it cannot be eliminated, the whole object);
  • harmful influence of improper condition of electric installation of the consumer on normal functioning of electric installations of the SO and other consumers.

You may also like: Consumer Agreement for the Provision of Electricity Distribution Services

The procedure for disconnecting and renewing the power supply for an industrial user

The disconnection procedure is as follows:

  1. The consumer is sent a notice indicating the reason, date and time of disconnection. If the reason for the disconnection is a debt –  its size and period shall be specified in addition.
  2. The SO representatives perform the disconnection within the period specified in the notice.

When the consumer’s networks are used to transport electricity to other consumers, they must provide access for selective disconnection of their current collectors while maintaining the transportation scheme.

If the violation is eliminated on the day of the disconnection, of which the initiator is duly informed - the disconnection is not carried out.

Resumption of electricity supply is carried out after documentary confirmation of its initiator elimination of the causes of disconnection. The period is up to 5 working days.

 The consumer must compensate the initiator of the disconnection for the termination and restoration of electricity supply.

It is important to know clearly the possible reasons for the disconnection and the procedure for its implementation, because the violation of the procedure may be in your favor in the event of an appeal on your part.

What should a consumer do in case of the disconnection or disconnection notice?

  • If the disconnection is reasonable – remove the cause and notify the initiator of the disconnection in writing before the day of the disconnection.
  • If the disconnection is unreasonable – notify the initiator of the disconnection in writing as soon as possible and with reasoned arguments.

In this case, our experts also advise to immediately send a complaint to the relevant supervisory authority, with a copy to the initiator of the disconnection. Such actions usually allow to avoid disconnection in case of its unreasonableness or to delay in case the initiator has doubts about its legality.

Further, it is necessary to ask the initiator of the disconnection about the result of consideration of the appeal.

1. If the initiator of the disconnection refuses to cancel it or fails to respond, prepare as much as possible to carry out the disconnection to minimize the harmful consequences.

Please note: After receiving a notice, the consumer should first of all and urgently take care of all possible measures to prevent injury or death of animals, as well as other negative consequences.

2. If the supervisory authority makes a decision in favor of the consumer, inform the initiator of the disconnection and demand the resumption of electricity supply.Consequences of disconnecting an industrial customer from the electricity supply

The main and extremely negative consequence of disconnection is the consumer’s inability to carry out production activities that may result in financial losses.

However, this is not the only consequence.

If a disconnection is initiated by the electricity supplier, the consumer cannot change it to another (more favorable) one until the disconnection is canceled. This prevents the consumer from receiving electricity at a lower price or more acceptable conditions, which also affects its financial condition, the cost of production, etc.

Important: Pursuant to the law, responsibility for all the negative consequences of disconnection, carried out legally and in the prescribed manner, is the responsibility of the consumer.

Since disconnection is the fastest, most effective and extremely “painful” means of influence on the consumer, its use is quite common and requires a quick response. In turn, it requires certain knowledge and experience, which the consumer does not always have.

Our company understands the importance of the prevention of disconnection for the consumer and is ready to provide quick and effective assistance in preventing its unjustified implementation or the resumption of electricity supply. For this purpose, our experienced specialists provide the following range of services:

  • Determining the legitimacy of the disconnection and providing a reasoned opinion on this issue;
  • Appealing against the actions of the initiator of the disconnection in case they are unlawful to the regulatory authorities;
  • Resumption of electricity supply after receiving a decision of the regulatory authorities in favor of the consumer.

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Publication date: 24/06/2022

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