Over 150 residents and businesses in Cork, Ireland, may not receive any money in return for their insurance claims against the Electricity Supply Board totalling €100m in flood damages.
The ESB said that it is optimistic that it will win an appeal next year against University College Cork and insurer Aviva
. Last Octo
ber, the High Court ruled that the semi-state utility was 60% liable for damage caused by flood to the UCC campus in 2009.
The university, on behalf of Aviva
, had sued the ESB for €19m in property damage after the ESB allegedly released water from two hydroelectric dams, causing heavy damage to the campus. The High Court found the UCC 40% liable because they had failed to make anti-flood measures despite evidence for years suggesting that the campus was becoming more vulnerable to flooding.
The Court ruled in favour of UCC and Aviva
, leading to 156 claims by individuals and businesses in the area whose premises were also flooded in the same incident. If ESB wins its appeal, it could lead to the invalidation of all the other claims.
Insurance companies have already paid out tens of millions of euros in claims. If the case is ruled against the utility company, then it could end up paying for all the insurance bills.
According to Pat O’Doherty, CEO of ESB, the utility company should not be held liable and that “the ESB staff on the night worked tirelessly to protect Cork from the worst impact of the flooding.”