Lightning strike to the BT master socket

Lightning strike to the BT master socket

It seems to be a grey area, in terms of who is responsible
for a lightning strike to the BT master socket
Read this guide and maybe it can help

Pictures taken after a Lightning Strike to BT Master Socket
Lightning Strike to BT Master Socket

Reading through some online forums regarding this problem.
You’ll find plenty of disgruntled customers who have been charged for a lightning strike to the BT master socket.
Some argue it is part of their rental agreement and was not
damaged by them, it was an “act of God” / Force Majeure.

Some quotes taken from the BT forums:

  • “Yes I am glad that the charge was removed and am grateful for that but I am NOT happy though, that I am expected to pay for something that was out of my control. I thought my monthly line rental paynent would and should have covered the cost of all repairs up to and including the master socket. especially after a lightning strike to the BT master socket”


  • “Just looked at my bill and had a nasty shock when I saw a £129.99 charge for having my master socket replaced after a lightning strike to the BT master socket.
    BT Openreach Employee came and said he had been doing loads of properties around the area, all having had various problems resulting from a lightning power surge. He tested mine and had to replace the socket as it had been fried. I thought that would be that till I logged into my account, no mention of charges at the time of the repair,
    after a lightning strike to the BT master socket”.


  • I didn’t know I was responsible for BT carrying out repairs to it’s own equipment.We experienced a lightning strike to the BT master socket. A lightning storm blew over our area. BT employee came and replaced the master socket. Said he had spent all day repairing patch panels damaged by the storm. Then I got a bill for over a £120.
    I have raised a complaint. Phoned 4 times and still not had any resolution. The Openreach notes say that my equipment was faulty and that my equipment had caused a power surge.
    Both claims are false.

Lightning strike to the BT master socket


BT website and its charges guideline:

BT Home Improvement Service – information and charges
We won’t be able to tell you if there’s a charge
until after an engineer visits your premises.
It’s free of charge if the problem is with our network
outside the boundary of your premises.

A diagram showing a lightning strike to the BT master socket
Boundary Charges

Charges arising after the Lightning strike

You’ll be charged if the problem is caused by things like:

  • Your main socket, due to damage you’ve caused
  • Your home phone extension wiring
  • The way you’ve connected up your equipment
  • Interference from something else in your home, like your phone, alarm system, or a faulty microfilter
  • A faulty BT Home Hub that’s out of warranty (your Hub is in warranty if you’re in contract)
  • Damage caused by damp, flood, fire, or building work
  • Damage outside caused by things like broken guttering or trees
  • Telephone wires that have been accidentally cut

BT Terms and Conditions

When searching deeper into their terms and conditions,
it also states:

The Standard Chargeable Visit will be charged for the following:

Repairing faults where this work is not covered under the terms of a service contract with Openreach

A fault is found not to be with any Openreach service or equipment.
In particular this covers the situation where no fault is found, or the fault is found to be on non-Openreach equipment, or is due to damage caused by someone at the customer’s or end user’s premises, or due to theft, loss or removal of equipment, or in the case of customer or end user
owned or rented equipment (but not Openreach’s network)
faults caused by external or environmental factors
(eg lightning, electrical surges or floods).

It’s a little vague in their information and charges guideline re:
Lightning strike to the BT master socket

If the surge came down the phone line from the BT network,
going by the BT diagram above and its wording of

“due to damage you’ve caused”
“Damage outside caused by things like broken guttering or trees”
“It’s free of charge if the problem is with our network
outside the boundary of your premises”

You’re not liable to be charged

If the lighting hit your house and it sent a surge down to the telephone socket, then you are liable for the charge, as the damage occurred on your property..

I would surmise:
If your house shows no signs of lightning damage
(Something I feel sure you’d notice) and you have had a
lightning strike to the BT master socket
How can you be liable?

If reporting the fault to your service provider of:
A lightning strike to the BT master socket
You should call your service provider and state there is a fault.

My house has been hit by lightning, if it hasn’t

Possible problems arising with a BT visit

Should a charge be raised by the visiting Openreach employee,
you are well within your rights to complain to your
service provider & ask for this charge to be removed.

Get some facts input onto the job report, if you have a visit
from an Openreach employee.
Ask them to list work they carry out and its causes,
It may help your defence.

Should you get a BT employee visit, simply ask them
to add comments to their job notes.

  • My property shows no visible lightning damage
  • If a charge is raised, state: a charge is unjustified, by the comments from the BT charges guidelines.
  • Ask to be shown the charging criteria, against the problem you have had resolved. If they can’t and they are simply going by memory, how can you be sure they know they are correct?
  • Should no mention of charges be put to you by the BT Openreach employee, as they leave your premises.
    Ask the employee to add
    “I have not been instructed of a charge being applied to my account”
    and to kindly reflect this on their job notes.
    Out of respect you should be informed of any possible charges before they leave site.

This can help to go in your favour when disputing such claims

The way it works

This page is only my opinion and not a guaranteed way of stopping the over eager charges that BT employees are targeted to reach, as part of their working day.

The visiting Employee on the day is the only person who will determine whether to raise a charge or not.
Get them to write something onto the job notes, relating to your
defence of the situation at hand.

When the job is processed though – Someone else may determine to add charges without knowing anything about the situation other than the job report and the notes added.
A nasty underhand tactic if you cannot defend yourself and also
not have the respect to tell you that they are doing so, until the bill comes through.

The Openreach employee has to reach a target statistic of around 15-20%  of chargeable work during their duties.
Putting a charge on your task keeps their stats up & leaves you the fight and stress of disproving its validity.

Whether you pay the charge or not has no relevance to the Openreach employee.
They have kept their statistics at around 15 – 20% keeping them in line with their job criteria.

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