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Monday, Jul 15, 2024

Compensation request to CLP for spoiled food over N.T. blackouts not unreasonable, tribunal rules

Compensation request to CLP for spoiled food over N.T. blackouts not unreasonable, tribunal rules

A writ asking CLP Power Ltd. for more than HK$6,500 in compensation by a Hongkonger over the blackouts in New Territories last summer was not unreasonable, the Small Claims Tribunal ruled on Thursday, turning down the power giant’s application for the case to be dismissed.
Over 160,000 households in Yuen Long, Tin Shui Wai, and Tuen Mun were plunged into darkness around 7 pm on June 21 last year as electric cables and a transmission bridge in Long Ping caught fire. The power supply was only restored at around 8 am the next day.

CLP earlier slammed the filing by Tin Shui Wai resident Lo Po-sang to be “frivolous” and “vexatious,” and it lacked a legal and factual basis.

The lawyers also pointed to a list of food and drinks provided by Lo, which included ten cartons of milk – each weighing 1.5 liter – and slashed back at Lo that he would have to consume two cartons of milk every three days, citing the general 12-day shelf life.

Delivering the verdict today, deputy adjudicator Avery Chan Ka-hang said CLP was the only power supplier in the area and referred to an investigation report last August that the fire started because the light tubes near the cable bridge were overheated.

Chan noted that the questions of whether CLP had the duty of care towards Lo or if CLP failed to exercise its duty of care should be settled during the hearing.

Chan also addressed CLP’s arguments that Lo couldn’t prove he was the owner of the food and drinks he claimed to be and said the tribunal cannot hand down a judgment until hearing the testimonies from both sides.

As for CLP hitting back at Lo that he couldn’t prove all his food was spoiled because of the blackouts, Chan said the court believes dairy products such as ice cream, milk, and yogurt will go bad after 12 hours of a power outage.

Chan then concluded that the filing was not unreasonable and turned down CLP’s application for the case to be dismissed.

Chan also adjourned the hearing to August 28 and left Lo’s application for legal cost reimbursement on the court file.

Lo seeks a total of HK$6,559.3 in compensation from CLP for the food and drinks he said went bad in his bridge, plus his costs.

The groceries included ten bottles of Kowloon Dairy milk, two cartons of CP-Meiji milk, eight bottles of Yasuda yogurt drink, eight cups of Haagen-Dazs ice cream, two 500-gram cartons of Movenpick ice cream, four one-liter bottles of Bless fruit juice and various kinds of seafood.

He also had 22 apples, 12 avocados, and a bunch of mustard greens.

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