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Press Office
0113 322 7950

Out of hours: 0113 322 7978

Stakeholder Relations Team

stakeholder@northerngas.co.uk

A service you can rely on

Our customers expect a reliable gas service, with few interruptions to supply.

In 2016/17, we used clever technology to speed up repair and maintenance jobs, fill in the holes more quickly and improve quality control.

Work sites were kept safe, neat, tidy, with ample consideration for the public and the environment – thanks to the application of nationally-recognised Considerate Constructor Scheme principles.

There were fewer interruptions to gas supply than we had anticipated at the start of the year – good news for customers. By far the biggest cause of gas interruptions in 2016/17 was weather-related issues on our network.

In response, we are continuing to strengthen those parts of our network that are most vulnerable to extreme weather, such as pipe bridges.

Outputs - a detailed look

This table takes a detailed look at our safety performance in 2016/17. Simply click the yellow tooltip to read a brief commentary on what the statistic means, and how we did.

Loss of supply Target
2013/14
2014/15
2015/16
2016/17
Status
Number of planned interruptions
?

Interruptions to the gas supply for which customers were given prior notice (e.g. by letter). Planned mains replacement work is the most common scenario here. The stats show that the number of planned interruptions was lower than our target for the year.

50,448
43,276
57,434
58,925
61,191
Ahead
Number of unplanned interruptions
?

Interruptions to the gas supply caused by unplanned issues – such as gas leaks, or water finding its way into the pipe network. The number of these interruptions was lower than we had expected at the start of the year – good news for customers.

13,459
11,464
13,034
14,289
12,427
Ahead
Repair Target
2013/14
2014/15
2015/16
2016/17
Status
Duration of planned interruptions (minutes)
?

The length of time the gas went off due to planned work, such as mains replacement jobs. The total duration was less than predicted at the start of the year – good news for customers.

17.3 million
22.4 million
30.3 million
13.7 million
15.5 million
Ahead
Duration of unplanned interruptions (minutes)
?

The length of time the gas went off due to unplanned issues, such as gas leaks. We were ahead of target in 2016/17. This was great news for customers, as it meant reduced disruption.

6.8 million
4.8 million
4.2 million
4.4 million
4.8 million
Ahead
Network capacity Target
2013/14
2014/15
2015/16
2016/17
Status
Meeting NGn's 1 in 20 planning standard (MWh pa)
?

This output requires our network to have enough capacity to ensure customers’ gas supplies are not interrupted during periods of highest demand (known as a 1 in 20 year event). Estimates of peak demand have actually been falling since 2005, and we comfortably outperformed our annual target.

512,701
500,315
502, 916
492,560
476, 850
Ahead
PRI utilisation and capacity
?

Pressure Reduction Installations (PRI) reduce the pressure of gas before it is distributed to homes and businesses. To meet our obligations, assets need to be technically compliant and able to meet required volumes.

Phased plan
Phased plan
On target
On target
On target
On target
Network reliability, maintaining operation performance Target
2013/14
2014/15
2015/16
2016/17
Status
% by volume of network meter errors
?

We are responsible for monitoring and reporting the accuracy of the meters we use to measure the movement of gas from the National Transmission System into our network. We exceeded our annual target.

<0.1% pa
<0.002%
02% 0.0%
0.0%
0.0%
Ahead
Number and duration of telemetered faults
?

This target covers our response to telemetry faults (i.e. faults on equipment used to measure and record key data) on our above ground assets. In 2016/17 we had 63 against a target of 166 – a good performance.

196
105
63
135
63
Ahead
Pressure System Safety Regulation Faults
?

Statutory inspections are carried out on our network. We achieved 0.35 faults per inspection in 2016/17, outperforming our target.

0.51pa
0.43
0.26
0.31
0.35
Ahead
Gasholder decommissioning
?

we are in the process of decommissioning the region’s 44 gas holders. These holders are a legacy of a different age and are no longer needed due to improvements in our network. We aim to demolish them all over a 16 year period. We completed the decommissioning of 7 holders in 2016/17, ahead of our phased target.

2
1
2
3
7
Ahead

Case studies

We have some exciting projects on the go to help to keep the region cooking on gas and ensure that every penny that we spend delivers maximum value to our customers.

Ensuring quality every time we dig

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Doing a job right first time avoids the need to dig up the road again in the future.

Using a smart phone app, our front line teams can now send photos and other key information back to base, at every stage of a job. The info is then reviewed, in real time.

Following successful trials, the app is being rolled out to all emergency response, repair and connections teams in 2016/17.

And the use of digital technology doesn’t end there. We’re now in the second year of using smart phones to document and externally verify every single pipe joint we weld, ensuring a perfect seal every time, and have begun using digital job packs for mains replacement work – meaning more time improving our network, and less time back in the office.

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A considerate bunch

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The Considerate Constructors Scheme (CCS) sets the gold standard for tidy, safe, professional work sites.

We’ve been involved in the scheme for the past three years, and in 2016/17, took the opportunity to roll out the principles to all our sites.

We received 47 CCS awards over the past 12 months, and scored an average of 39.89 – higher than the 35.51 national average.

Much more important than the framed certificates, however, is the opportunity to ensure consistently high standards, every time our barriers go up.

We’ve also become a CCS partner, which sees us work with a further 50 organisations to shape industry best practice.

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Coring the road – the smarter way to dig

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Why dig a great big hole when you can take a small sliver from the road instead?

That’s exactly what our Core and Vac units do. The engineering equivalent of giant apple corers, the units allow us to get straight to the problem area of a pipe with a minimum of mess, fuss and time.

Following successful trials, we invested in two Core & Vac units in 2016. They mean we can often get a job done in a single day, and can reduce reinstatement costs by an average of 69% and duration of works reduced by half, providing a better value service for customers.

They don’t work for every job. But when they are deployed, the benefits are phenomenal, with smaller, speedier and cheaper roadworks.

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Turning the tide on water ingress

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When water finds its way into our pipes, our customers end up going without gas until we can remove it.  We’re constantly looking at new ways to locate and extract water more quickly.

Water often travels around our pipes as a vapour, so we’re repurposing 20 year-old portable sensors to help us find it. The sensors were originally used to measure the energy (calorific) value of gas, but their happy knack of measuring water vapour concentrations too means we can put them to a whole new use.

We’re also trialling ‘intelligent’ syphons that can extract water on low lying parts of our network, and new filters that can remove impurities from extracted water– avoiding the need to tanker it away.

All this clever technology is helping us turn the tide on water ingress.

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Digging without the damage

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At any given time, we have around 80 mini diggers working across our network.

Until recently, the use of ‘back blades’ to anchor each digger during operation caused scarring on roads and footpaths. Engineers would often have to return weeks later to rectify this cosmetic damage, at great cost.

We’ve developed a protector for these back blades, using NIA (Network Innovation Allowance) funding, that has performed extremely well in trials.

We now plan to retrofit the protector to all our diggers – reducing public disruption and unlocking expected cost savings of £300k per year.

 

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Keyhole surgery for roads

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Over the past two years, we’ve successfully trialled ‘core & vac’technology, which allows us to take a small, circular sliver from a road or pavement, instead of digging a much bigger hole.

The technique – the civil engineering equivalent of keyhole surgery – has proven its worth in reducing the duration and disruption of jobs, as well as going some way towards limiting the amount of spoil we send to landfill.

We’ve recently invested in two core & vac rigs, housed on specially adapted trucks making this a business as usual approach.

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Investment where it counts

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We invested wisely in our above and below ground equipment in 2015/16, putting money into sites at Wakefield, Darlington, Hull and Goole, among other places. This improved reliability and met the needs of expanding local populations.

For the past three years, we have pursued a policy of front loading our network investment programme, in order to target problematic, leak prone pipes as quickly as possible, reducing disruption further down the line, and saving money by avoiding continual repairs.

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