The liability of a supplier of electricity is sought

THE CONTEXT

A 20-kV underground cable supplying power to the manufacturer was pulled out by the mechanical digger of a public works company operating on behalf of a third-party.

The manufacturer suffered repeated disruptions to the electricity supply on the day of the incident and claimed tangible damage that affected his machines as well as a production shutdown.

The manufacturer accused the electricity distributor of a “malfunction in the lines”, according to the provisions of Article 1147 et seq of the French Civil Code.

The court-appointed expert held the electricity distributor liable for the loss and initiated legal proceedings.

GM CONSULTANT INTERVENTION

The GM Consultant loss adjusters involved in the case were able to demonstrate:

  • The lack of a Declaration of Intent to Begin Work and of a Works Declaration submitted by the opposing party
  • A direct connection between the damage to the cable caused by the public works company and the power cuts blamed on the electricity distributor
  • The lack of a causality link between the harm, alleged by the manufacturer, the power cuts and the damage to the cable
  • Standards NFC 15-100 and NFEN 60204 and the order of 17 March 2003, relating to the protection of consumer equipment, setting out the manufacturer’s obligations in the case of interruptions to the power supply and drops in voltage
  • Compliance with the thresholds agreed to in the supply contract signed by the manufacturer

In addition, the loss adjusters explained to the court-appointed expert how electricity networks operate, citing standards C13-100 and C13-200 and two memos taken from Engineering Techniques publications (“Protection Plan for medium-voltage public distribution networks” and “Protecting medium-voltage public distribution networks”).

In the end, the court-appointed expert was convinced by the loss adjusters’ arguments.