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0113 322 7950

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Stakeholder Relations Team

stakeholder@northerngas.co.uk

What you told us

  • 1

    Deliver an affordable and acceptable plan.”

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    1

    "Deliver an affordable and acceptable plan.”

    You told us:

    Bills should be no higher than absolutely necessary; our services should be affordable for all

    So we will:

    Reduce the average domestic customer bill from £139 to £127 per annuum, a 8.6% saving each year.  That’s approximately £150 million over five years until 2026.

    85%

    Overall business plan affordability rating

    % of customers saying our proposed bill level is affordable or very affordable

  • 2

    Prevent the problems that disrupt your days and go above and beyond to deliver an outstanding service.”

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    2

    "Prevent the problems that disrupt your days and go above and beyond to deliver an outstanding service.”

    You told us:

    Minimise disruption to normal daily activities by reducing time off gas during supply interruptions.

    So we will:

    Introduce a bespoke target to connect customers to the meter in less than 11 hours on average and make a voluntary compensation payment if we fail to reconnect them the same day.

    You told us:

    Provide extended notice to customers in vulnerable circumstances about planned investment in the network and a 48-hour reminder prior to work starting.

    So we will:

    Notify customers at least 7 days in advance of planned work starting, inform all vulnerable customers 15 days before and provide a reminder 48 hours in advance of a planned interruption.

    You told us:

    Reconnect the gas supply and appliances as soon as possible after an interruption.

    So we will:

    Introduce a bespoke target to restore gas to appliances within 2 hours of either gas being restored to the meter or the time convenient for our customers.

    You told us:

    Introduce an appointment service.

    So we will:

    Offer a two-hour appointment service for engineers to attend jobs and a tracking service.

    You told us:

    Make every contact count – educate about our services and provide additional support.

    So we will:

    When undertaking our normal activities, in addition to carbon monoxide awareness, our front-line staff will provide energy efficiency advice or referrals.

    You told us:

    Fill in holes quickly, but don’t compromise quality.

    So we will:

    We have gone beyond the minimum requirement of 5 days and committed to reinstating customers premises within 3 working days.

    You told us:

    Pay appropriate compensation if you fail to meet your service standards.

    So we will:

    We have committed to paying at least 50% more than the RIIO-1 regulatory standard when we do not meet our obligations and introduced compensation even where we do not have to, for the things that you have said are important to you.

    You told us:

    Continue to provide industry-leading support when a large scale incident occurs.

    So we will:

    We will deliver an enhanced Major Incident Support Framework during ‘gas-off’ incidents impacting over 250 customers. This will also be provided on a case-by-case base for smaller incidents, based on expected length of interruption and weather conditions.

    91%

    Overall acceptability rating of our reliability promises

    % of customers saying our promise is acceptable or very acceptable

  • 3

    Maintain your high standards of service and improve the journey for connections customers, gas shippers and independent gas transporters."

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    3

    "Maintain your high standards of service and improve the journey for connections customers, gas shippers and independent gas transporters."

    You told us:

    Strive for continuous improvement on customer complaints by setting targets based on calendar days and working towards an agreed solution within 60 minutes.

    So we will:

    Measure our performance against an enhanced metric – based on calendar days and agree a resolution of a complaint within an hour, even on weekends. We will deliver this at no extra cost to you.

    You told us:

    Improve communication throughout the connections process and the time taken to deliver.

    So we will:

    We will provide standard quotations within 3 working days and start dates within 10 working days, together with an online booking service and a key customer contact throughout the journey.

    You told us:

    Provide a dedicated account management service and enhanced responsiveness for gas shippers and independent transporters.

    So we will:

    We will introduce new standards for gas shippers and independent transporters which set time commitments for resolving queries and see us deliver a more consistently good service.

    89%

    Overall acceptability of our customer service promises

    % of customers saying our promise is acceptable or very acceptable

  • 4

    Continue to provide flexible and tailored support to those that need it most without duplicating efforts of social services or the NHS."

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    4

    "Continue to provide flexible and tailored support to those that need it most without duplicating efforts of social services or the NHS."

    You told us:

    Provide support to all individuals in vulnerable situations, including residents who are ‘off grid’.

    So we will:

    We will actively promote and seek out members of our communities who are eligible for the Priorities Services Register, targeting an additional 5,000 registrations per year. We will also deliver enhanced services such a offering a dedicated hotline for any customer registered on the PSR, or anyone who might identify themselves as vulnerable.

    You told us: 

    Meet or exceed the number of fuel poor gas connections provided in during RIIO-1.

    So we will:

    We will commit to a minimum 1000, and have an ambition to deliver 2000, off-grid, fuel-poor customers per annum over the RIIO-2 period by connecting them to the gas network, saving them £350 per year on their energy bills. This is a compromise area in our plan.

    You told us:

    Ensure that when you deliver a free gas connection it benefits the customer in the form of lower bills.

    So we will:

    We have set ourselves what we believe is a realistic target based upon the narrowing definition of who can qualify for the scheme.

    We will offer a suite of additional support to households receiving free gas connections during the
    same visit. We have committed to only claiming the full allowance for what we do should the desired customer benefit be achieved. This will be applied to 500 fuel poor connections per year.

    You told us:

    Continue to focus on raising relatively low levels of awareness of carbon monoxide.

    So we will:

    We will continue our important CO safety and awareness programme. This service will be available to all customers and not just those identified as vulnerable. We have promised to deliver 10,000 CO surveys per year.

    You told us:

    Provide advice or referrals on energy efficiency in addition to carbon monoxide awareness when undertaking day to day activities.

    So we will:

    Our first-call engineers will make every contact with customers count by delivering bespoke energy efficiency advice and referrals to 1,000 customers per year.

    You told us:

    Deliver support and key messages through effective and trusted collaboration with other partners, taking care to avoid duplication with other utilities or social services.

    So we will:

    We will continue to support our unique Community Partnering scheme. Launched in 2015, we initially made £50,000 available for charities to bid for, that would both meet our core strategic objectives and also respond to the needs of the specific charity.

    We will also train 100 community partners per year in CO; PSR; and energy efficiency in order to reach a wide range of customers.

    You told us:

    Provide bespoke, relevant support that is driven by individual circumstances, such as relief from financial hardship.

    So we will: 

    We occasionally serve customers who are in desperate need of direct financial help. For these customers, we will set up a hardship fund of £150,000 per year, in partnership with similar schemes. Access to this fund will have a strict set of criteria, to ensure that we are not duplicating any other available funding streams.

    You told us:

    Offer bespoke support to vulnerable customers during supply interruptions

    So we will:

    We have enhanced the service offerings that we have available during supply interruption incidents, including a Major Incident Support Framework, and set timescales for the provision of each of these services.

    You told us:

    Give vulnerability training equal importance to the safety and technical competency training provided to your first-call engineers

    So we will:

    We will create a Customer and Social Competency Framework, to mirror the existing framework for safety and technical competencies. We will develop this in collaboration with National Energy Action and the Institute of Customer Service.

    You told us:

    Continue to support your staff to take up 2 days paid leave to volunteer in the community to support a range of relevant causes.

    So we will:

    We will continue our policy which enables our staff to take two days’ paid leave each year to undertake volunteering activities in the local community. At least one day will be dedicated to supporting our social priorities e.g. carbon monoxide awareness and tackling fuel poverty.

    86%

    Overall acceptability of our social and vulnerability promises:

    % of customers saying our promise is acceptable or very acceptable

  • 5

    Always put safety first and ensure it underpins your investment strategy."

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    5

    "Always put safety first and ensure it underpins your investment strategy."

    You told us:

    Attending gas escapes within one hour is the most important safety driver and you want us to set targets for 1 and 2 hour response to gas emergencies that are higher than our performance in RIIO-1.

    So we will:

    During RIIO-1, we led the industry with an average of 99.8% and over 99.9% of gas escapes attended within the 1- and 2-hour standards respectively. In RIIO-2, we will meet the minimum standard; however, we aim to continue to outperform.

    You told us:

    Improve your repair performance for controlled gas leaks (where the flow of gas to the property has been stopped and the smell of gas has disappeared) within 12 hours of an escape being reported.

    So we will:

    During RIIO-2, we will continue to improve by repairing more than 64% of controlled gas leaks within 12 hours. We will also reduce leakage from our network and the carbon impact associated with this by improving our performance on 7- and 28-day repairs.

    You told us:

    Improve your performance for restoring supply to customers within 24 hours following an interruption.

    So we will:

    We have committed to restoring gas to the emergency control valve on the same day. Where we fail, we will pay 50% more than the regulatory standard compensation payment to customers.

    You told us:

    Accelerate your pipe replacement programme to improve safety and reliability and reduce environmental impacts.

    So we will:

    We will replace 2,144km of Tier 1 iron mains in line with the Health and Safety Executive’s expectations, whilst also increasing the volume of work related to steel pipes and larger diameter bands of iron main where there is a clear cost-benefit to do so.

    You told us:

    Manage your assets to ensure that they are future-proofed and make decisions with the longer-term end goal in mind.

    So we will:

    We will adopt Ofgem’s Network Asset Risk Metric (NARMS) to help justify, evidence and track the investments we make in our network, ensuring that we maximise customer benefit whilst minimising safety risk.

    You told us:

    Take a proactive approach to educating customers on gas safety.

    So we will:

    We have committed to training 100 community partners per year to deliver CO awareness in our region. We will also provide free carbon monoxide detectors to all customers who have a new connection to the gas network.

    You told us:

    Go above and beyond the minimum standards and be more proactive with resilience planning.

    So we will:

    We will take a more active role in Resilience Forums and working groups across our region, thereby improving community contingency planning and response to emergency situations.

    88%

    Overall acceptability of our safety promises

    % of customers saying our promise is acceptable or very acceptable

  • 6

    Take a leading role in protecting the environment and play your part to help achieve Net Zero carbon targets by 2050."

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    6

    "Take a leading role in protecting the environment and play your part to help achieve Net Zero carbon targets by 2050."

    You told us:

    It is imperative that you act against climate change, by reducing both shrinkage and non-shrinkage emissions to reduce carbon emissions.

    So we will:

    We will reduce gas shrinkage by 22% and gas leakage by 24% through an optimised mains replacement programme; investment in system pressure management; gas conditioning and improved gas escape repair performance; Reduce our non-shrinkage business carbon footprint by 25%; a science based  target achieved by reducing the impact of our vehicle fleet, on-site renewable energy, reduced material wastage and using our resources responsibly.

    These commitments will support a net zero carbon future and protect our environment.

    You told us:

    Reduce your vehicle carbon footprint, and go above and beyond by phasing out diesel vehicles.

    So we will:

    100% of our company cars will be ultra-low emission or hybrid by the end of RIIO-2, with electric vehicle charging infrastructure installed across all of our offices and depots at a cost of approximately £0.5m. We will renew our commercial vehicle fleet with newer, more efficient vans that can meet our operational requirements, with at least 25% of our non-engineering fleet being ultra-low emission by end RIIO-2; continuing to install remote pressure management on our network to reduce the number of journeys that our engineers make to site.

    Our investment will reduce our business carbon emissions and improve air quality.

    You told us:

    When gas land is remediated, actively improve habitats for wildlife at your permanent sites.

    So we will:

    We will enhance life on hand by creating 250 homes for nature and our land remediation programme. We have also committed to investing, from shareholders’ profits, in the planting of 40,000 trees in urban areas which will deliver improved air quality and aesthetic value to the communities that we serve.

    You told us:

    Reduce roadworks caused by our approximately 180,000 excavations per year.

    So we will:

    Our whole systems strategy commits us to working closely with other utilities, particularly in the area of joint planning of works. We’ve also committed to ongoing innovation to reduce the duration of our excavations. These include specialist cameras to target blockages, mains and water extraction and allowing excavations to be carried out in a side street and not in high impact locations.

    86%

    Overall acceptability of our environmental promises:

    % of customers saying our promise is acceptable or very acceptable

  • 7

    Proactively facilitate the energy transition and create stepping stones to meet future decarbonisation targets. Focus on ‘low regrets’ investment to prevent time and effort being spent on solutions that may not return value to customers."

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    7

    "Proactively facilitate the energy transition and create stepping stones to meet future decarbonisation targets. Focus on ‘low regrets’ investment to prevent time and effort being spent on solutions that may not return value to customers."

    You told us:

    Gas should be part of the UK energy mix.

    So we will:

    Our plans reflect the need for gas as an ongoing energy source and our ambitions for a decarbonised gas sector to meet the UK’s net zero emissions targets. We will continue to develop the evidence base required to inform a policy decision on the decarbonisation of heat, through our H21 project and ongoing collaboration with other gas distribution businesses through projects such as HyDeploy.

    You told us:

    Our investment strategy in RIIO-2 should be ‘Business as usual ‘plus’ investments that prepare the network for a positive future policy decision.

    So we will:

    We are continuing to work collaboratively with the government and other gas distribution and transmission businesses to identify remaining research requirements to help inform a policy decision on how to achieve our net zero targets. We have committed to a number of innovation projects in our business plan, but will remain flexible with the work that we look to undertake across RIIO-2, so that we are ready to respond to policy changes. Our whole systems strategy outlines the pragmatic approach we will take to coordinating our approach to reducing and outlines the pathway to meeting the net zero carbon targets.

    You told us:

    The government cannot make decisions in favour of gas without evidence that future gas options are feasible. We should be running live trials of hydrogen, and stakeholders want to see more research conducted to build an evidence base.

    So we will:

    During RIIO-2, our next steps will be to move to real-world trials across our portfolio of projects. To achieve this, we will collaborate with gas distribution networks and other utilities to explore the commercial applications of the technology and the most effective delivery models.

  • 8

    Build on your culture of innovation to improve customers’ experiences and deliver your services more efficiently."

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    8

    "Build on your culture of innovation to improve customers’ experiences and deliver your services more efficiently."

    You told us:

    We like your engineer-led innovation approach and the introduction of a Think Tank to develop and foster a culture of ‘value-based’ innovation across the network.

    So we will:

    In RIIO-1, we will continue to develop our people to empower them to innovate. We will expand on our existing training and streamline our internal processes to further embed our culture of innovation. We will build upon the success of the established NGN Innovation Think Tank by expanding it to include selected third parties, to enable us to obtain robust challenge and external input on our innovation portfolio.

    You told us:

    Your business requirements should dictate the focus of innovation efforts. Your innovation portfolio should include a balance of small/short-term projects and large/long-term projects.

    So we will:

    We have committed to better monitoring of our innovation portfolio, which must focus on both transformational and incremental innovation. We have an absolute need to deliver solutions that drive efficiencies and improvement today; we must, however, also undertake projects that assist the energy industry in meeting the decarbonisation challenge.

    You told us:

    We’re concerned about the impact of changes to NIA funding and want to see continued commitment to investment in innovation.

    So we will:

    We want to reduce the cost of innovation to our customers. To do this, we will reform our innovation funding model. We will increase our investment in innovation, leverage other funding mechanisms and ask our innovation partners for greater financial contributions towards specific projects.

    You told us:

    We’d like to see deeper enduring collaboration across a broader cross section of stakeholder groups.

    So we will:

    We will set up a new continuous forum for innovation to develop new relationships and allow suppliers to showcase their ideas. We have committed to making our data more accessible to third parties, to better allow suppliers to innovate and further understand our needs.

    You told us:

    Innovation should be used to meet the needs of consumers and network users who find themselves in vulnerable circumstances

    So we will:

    We have committed to developing a research and development programme to mitigate risks introduced to vulnerable customers by our ‘everyday operations’ and create and deploy solutions that safeguard and support our customers. This activity will build upon the NIA funded Making Every Contact Count (MECC) innovation project to expand the reach beyond traditional GDN focus areas.

    You told us:

    You should innovate further on combined heat and cooling to facilitate an energy system that utilises waste energy.

    So we will:

    We have committed to collaboration with academia, in particular universities in the North East, to ensure that the essential evidence required to support long term policy decisions in this area is generated. This is a complex area and the need for research is paramount to enable the integration of gas and electricity networks alongside alternative solutions for heating and power to create the pathways towards a whole systems decarbonised future.

    You told us:

    Dedicate resources to developing methods of energy storage to maintain a safe and resilient network.

    So we will:

    Our ongoing gas holder decommissioning programme will reduce the risks associated with gas storage. The changing dynamics of a future energy system will undoubtedly evolve and we remain committed to being at the forefront of innovation in this area to ensure that affordable, sustainable and reliable solutions are developed.

Many different people have an interest in our plan, so we’ve written it with everybody in mind. Read our customer business plan for 2021 – 2026, our one page summary document and our longer stakeholder summary.

  • Customer plan 2021-26

    This is a short summary of our customer business plan.

    Read
  • One page summary

    This is our plan on a page.

    Read
  • Stakeholder Summary

    This is where you can deep dive into what our stakeholders told us.

    Read

Delivering for our customers

Download our complete plan