EXTREME temperatures have swept across the country with the Met Office issuing a rare red weather warning. 

And as the mercury rises, there is a risk that crucial services will be disrupted.

Train operators have warned of significant delays and cancellations amid fears of rails buckling in the heat.

And hundreds of homes have been without water for two days after a mains pipe burst during the hot spell. 

With the scorching weather continuing, more could be affected – but what are your rights?

Water outages

In this high heat, there is likely to be a lot of demand for water, putting pressure on water companies. 

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But you are protected by a number of rules if the taps stop running. 

According to Which? if you have water supply problems unexpectedly because a water main bursts, your water company should turn it back on within 12 hours of knowing that there is an issue. 

If a larger "strategic" water main bursts, then your company has 48 hour to fix it. 

When you haven’t had any water for more than 12 hours, your firm should give you an alternative supply – such as bottled water or by putting a mobile water tank near your home. 

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Households must be given at least 10 litres of water per person within the first 24 hours. 

And the water company must then continue that supply until your water is turned back on.

Compensation is available in some cases. 

So, if your water supply isn’t restored by the time the company says it will be, you should be able to get £20 for the first 24 hours. 

From there, you should get an extra £10 for each further 24-hour period you’re without running water.

If you don’t get sent this compensation within 20 working days, you can claim a further £20.

Sometimes compensation will be paid automatically, either as a payment to you or as money credited to your water account.

But not all companies do this and it might be that you have to make a claim to your company in writing. 

If you aren’t sure it is best to contact your water company. 

Rail travel delays

You may be able to get compensation for train journeys that have been delayed or cancelled by severe weather, but you'll need to apply as you won't get it automatically.

Where rail companies are advising you not to travel, you still might be able to get a refund. 

But this could differ from company to company, so you should contact the rail firm you have booked with to check. 

Delay repay

All train companies have adopted "delay repay", a national scheme used to compensate you for unexpected delays – and sometimes this includes bad weather.

Under the scheme, passengers are entitled to compensation each for any delay of 15 minutes or more.

How much you get back depends on how long the delay is and the type of ticket you have.

The money you get back can range from 25% of the ticket price to 100%. You’ll get a full refund if your train was delayed by 120 minutes or longer.

It doesn't matter which train company you are travelling with as the scheme is nationwide and all the train companies are part of it.

However, exactly how you claim money back will be up to the train line and you’ll have to apply to them directly. You can usually do this online. 

You’ll usually need a picture of your ticket and information about the train service you were on to claim.

Remember, you need to apply to the train company directly. 

Each firm has their own system but you can usually do this online, or you can fill in a form and send in your ticket with it.

Refunds

When your train is cancelled or delayed, you should be able to get a refund – but only if you choose not to travel at all. 

National Rail says your unused ticket can be refunded and you shouldn't be charged a fee for this.

You can get the money back from where you bought the ticket originally.

If you aren’t happy about the service offered by a train company, then you can make a complaint. 

In the first instance this should be sent to the train company directly – which you can do online, by email or over the phone. 

You'll need to provide information about the issue and your journey, such as departure station, date, time and ticket type.

You should be sent a response within 20 days.

If you're not happy with this you can ask them to look at it again and they will need to respond within 40 days.

If the first still hasn't resolved the problem you can escalate the issue to the Rail Ombudsman.

Internet outage

In the past, broadband providers have told customers to keep their routers out of the sun and in cooler areas of their home during high temperatures. 

But what are your rights if a more serious problem with your network happens as a result of the heatwave? 

The regulator Ofcom has an automatic compensation scheme which makes sure broadband and landline customers get their money back from their provider when things go wrong, without having to ask for it.

Most providers including BT are signed up to the scheme. You can check here to see if your provider is signed up. 

If your broadband stops working, you simply have to report the fault to your provider to be in line for the compensation.

Also if your service doesn’t start when you expected it to, or if your engineer appointment is missed, your provider will pay you back automatically too.

Power outages

If the hot weather causes problems for the UK’s power network, there’s a chance that there could be a power outage. 

Where this happens, you might be entitled to compensation. 

If you are eligible depends on if a power cut is planned, how long it lasts for and if it was the network company’s fault, according to the energy regulator Ofgem.

Your local network company that maintains supply on the grid is responsible for fixing power cuts and responding to claims.

You can find your network company by using this tool from Ofgem. 

Normally local network companies have 24 hours to restore supplies if more than 5,000 homes are affected by a single fault.

If you are cut off for 12 hours or more, you can claim:

  • £75 as a domestic customer
  • £150 as a non-domestic customer.

You can get a further £35 for each additional 12 hours of being off supply, up to a total of £300.

You can claim £20 if your gas supply goes off due to planned works, and your network operator did not give five days’ notice. 

You can get more if you are off supply for more than 24 hours – the amount rises depending on how the outage lasts for.

If you want to make a claim you need to do this with your local network company.

Any claim must claim must be made within three months for unplanned supply cuts or one month for planned supply cuts.

Make a claim through your local network company. 

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