Gas firms fined £5.2m over leaks

 

Two major utility firms will be fined a combined £5.2 million for failing to attend potentially dangerous gas leaks on time, the energy watchdog said today.

National Grid Gas (NGG), which owns four networks in the UK, will be fined £4.3 million, while Northern Gas Networks (NGN), which owns one network in northern England, will be fined £900,000 for failing to hit targets for attending gas escapes on time last winter.

Gas Distribution Network Operators (GDNs) have annual targets to respond to 97% of uncontrolled gas escapes within one hour, and 97% of controlled gas escapes within two hours.

Rachel Fletcher, senior partner for smarter grids and governance, distribution at watchdog Ofgem, said: "Ofgem accepts that many parts of Britain experienced bad weather conditions over the last year and individual members of staff from NGN and NGG worked hard in difficult conditions to reach customers that reported gas escapes.

"However, both companies need to plan better for bad weather and ensure that adequate resources and contingency plans are in place to meet the annual targets."

Ms Fletcher added: "Consumers pay for these important service standards and have a right to expect that they will be met."

NGG reached between 92.1% and 96.1% of uncontrolled gas escapes in all four of its networks within time limits and reached 96.8% and 95.1% of controlled gas escapes in two of its four networks, all between April 2010 and March this year.

John Pettigrew, chief operating officer of National Grid's gas distribution business, said: "Last winter was one of the harshest seen in this country for many years, and our teams worked extremely hard in difficult conditions. We missed our target and told Ofgem as soon as we knew this would be the case, working closely with them during their investigation.

"We take our responsibility to attend and manage gas escapes very seriously, and we have learned lessons from last year that we have embedded into the improved plans we have put in place for this coming winter."

Over the same period, NGN reached 91.6% of uncontrolled gas escapes and 94.3%, of controlled gas escapes within the time limits.

NGN chief executive Mark Horsley said the company learned from last year's winter experience.

He added: "Winter 2010/11 severely tested our network and we would like to apologise to anyone who was adversely affected but also take this opportunity to reassure our customers that we have taken action.

"We've completed a thorough review of our business and resources and put the lessons learnt into a new plan for this winter.

"Despite the fine imposed, the regulator has praised the dedication shown by our engineers, support teams and contractors. They showed immense dedication in responding to an unprecedented number of gas escapes during the worst winter to affect our region for more than 100 years.

PA

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Neil Pavier: Management Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you looking for your next opportunity for ...

Sheridan Maine: Commercial Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified ACA/ACCA/ACMA qua...

Laura Norton: Project Accountant

£50,000 - £60,000: Laura Norton: Are you looking for an opportunity within a w...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?