Transco fined for failing to connect

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The Independent Online

The gas network operator Transco is to be fined £1m for its poor performance in connecting new customers up to gas supplies. Ofgem, the energy regulator, announced yesterday that the company, part of National Grid Transco, had until the end of April to appeal against the penalty.

The gas network operator Transco is to be fined £1m for its poor performance in connecting new customers up to gas supplies. Ofgem, the energy regulator, announced yesterday that the company, part of National Grid Transco, had until the end of April to appeal against the penalty.

The fine is the second biggest to be handed down by Ofgem since it obtained new powers two years ago enabling it to penalise energy companies for poor performance. Transco has already paid £2.6m in compensation to customers under an Ofgem enforcement order imposed in 1999.

Ofgem said a wide range of customers had been affected by the poor quality of Transco's gas connections business, including home owners, building contractors and competing connections companies. The regulator said Transco failed to provide quotations promptly and often failed to turn up to connect customers as planned.

Sir John Mogg, the chairman of Ofgem, said there had been clear recent evidence that the situation was improving.

Transco said yesterday it was "very disappointed" with the penalty, describing Ofgem's ruling as "both inappropriate and disproportionate".

The consumer body Energywatch welcomed the fine but said this in itself would not resolve the wider problem of Transco's falling service standards.

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