Safe and sound

We’re constantly investing in our network to make it safe and reliable.

In 2015/16, we replaced 467 km of old, leak-prone iron pipes, targeting the most urgent cases first, invested in above-ground equipment and put in just under 28,000 new service pipes which connect individual properties.

Unfortunately, we were behind our annual target for service pipes and need to make up the shortfall in 2016/17 by targeting areas which have large numbers of these old metal services.

Gas escapes do still happen, and in 2015/16, our emergency engineers got out to them quickly, beating our statutory response times, and keeping our customers safe and sound. This excellent performance was driven by the day to day efforts of our teams, good management and increasing resources during the key winter period.

We also improved our repairs performance, completing even more repairs within the statutory 12 hour window than 2014/15. Refresher training for all our repair teams, and use of new technology to speed up leak detection, helped us to achieve this improvement.


Outputs – a detailed look

This table takes a detailed look at our safety performance in 2015/16. Simply click the plus arrow to read a brief commentary on what the statistic means, and how we did.

Output Target 2013/2014 Performance 2014/2015 Performance 2015/2016 Performance Status
Emergency response
% of uncontrolled gas escapes attended within 1 hour 97% 99.85% 99.85% 99.76% Ahead

Our engineers need to get out quickly to gas escapes, and we were comfortably ahead of our statutory response times when it came to responding to urgent escapes.

% of controlled gas escapes attended within 2 hours 97% 99.97% 99.99% 99.96% Ahead

Some gas escapes can be responded to within a two hour window, where the risk to the customer is deemed lower. We were well ahead of our targets for the year.

Annual repair risk (m) <34.5 34.4m 24.8m 18.6m Ahead

We work out a total risk score for all pipes which require a repair. The score is based on a wide range of criteria, and allows us to prioritise our repair work. Investing strategically in our network in 2015/16 helped us to comfortably beat our risk target.

% of repairs completed within 12 hours 60.25 62.3% 62.9% 64.4% Ahead

This refers to emergency repairs on our network. We were ahead of our annual target.

Mains replacement
Risk removed (incidents/year* 10 - 6) 13, 898 43,119 41,213 29,893 Ahead

Every metal pipe is given a risk score, based on factors such as the number of gas escapes. The overall ‘risk removed’ figure therefore gives a snapshot of our progress in making the network safer. Our approach of targeting the pipes with the highest risk score early in the RIIO period meant that we were ahead of target in 2015/16.

Number of gas in building events 144 56 77 24 Ahead

A measure of the number of gas escapes which resulted in gas finding its way into a building – presenting a potential safety risk to customers. Our performance was way ahead of target. This is partly a reflection of our targeted mains replacement programme, to remove the most problematic pipes first.

Number of fracture or corrosion failures 2,742 815 883 685 Ahead

Old metal pipes are subject to fractures or corrosion. We’re gradually replacing them with new plastic pipes to reduce these types of failure, and beat our annual target.

Length of main taken ‘off risk’ (km) (funded) 483.6 490.4 530.8 460.2 Ahead

Replacing old metal pipes with modern plastic ones dramatically reduces the risk of gas escapes. We replaced more than 460 km of old metal pipes in 2015/16 – ahead of target.

Length of main taken ‘off risk’ (km) (customer driven) 15.4 3.8 4.2 7.2 Behind

This refers to the length of old pipes replaced while carrying out work at a customer’s request, such as diverting a pipe. We can’t influence this output, given it is customer driven, and we were behind target in 2015/16. Lots of disparate factors can influence this statistic, such as the health of the economy.

Number of non-PE services replaced 30,932 25,689 28,565 27,765 Behind

Service pipes are the connecting pipes which link a customer’s home or business to the gas mains in the street. We were behind our replacement target for 2015/16. To make up ground, we have identified a series of service pipe replacement projects for 2016/17.

Asset health and risk metrics Phased plan Phased plan On target On target On target

We’re constantly assessing the overall health of our assets (pipes and associated equipment) and the level of risk to inform how and where we invest in the future.

Major accident hazard prevention
Compliance with the Control of Major Accident Hazard regulations (number of breaches) 0 0 0 0 On target

We are required to show that we have fully complied with these essential Health and Safety Executive regulations, by, for example, having a major accident prevention policy in place.

Compliance with the Gas Safety Management Regulations (number of breaches) 0 0 0 0 On target

We are required to show that we have fully complied with these essential Health and Safety Executive regulations.

Sub-deduct network ‘off risk’ by the end of RIIO 135 9 69 34 Ahead

Sub-deduct’ networks are parts of the gas network where ownership and responsibility are unclear – presenting a potential safety risk. Through re-engineering these networks, or establishing third party acceptance of responsibility, we can reduce this risk.

The future

A big area of focus in 2016/17 will be to embed our new asset health and risk metrics in our day to day decision making to drive our investment programme and improve the safety of our network.

We will continue to look for new innovative ways to improve our emergency and repair performance to minimise the impact on our customers, and further embed new technology such as core & vac which delivers significant customer benefits.

Our gas mains replacement programme is key to reducing leaks on our network and as ever will be a major focus into 2016/17 and beyond.