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Press Office
0113 322 7950

Out of hours: 0113 322 7978

Stakeholder Relations Team

stakeholder@northerngas.co.uk

Our commitments to you

  • The lowest bills

    “We will reduce bills by 8.6% saving customers approximately £150 million by 2026.”

    Bills should be no higher than absolutely necessary and services should be affordable for all.

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    “We will reduce bills by 8.6% saving customers approximately £150 million by 2026.”

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    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

  • Gas there when you need it

    “We will invest £800 million in our network – both on the front line and behind the scenes.”

    Reliability should never be compromised.

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    “We will invest £800 million in our network – both on the front line and behind the scenes.”

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    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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Offer a two-hour appointment service for engineers to attend jobs and a tracking service.
    • When undertaking our normal activities, in addition to carbon monoxide awareness, our front-line staff will provide energy efficiency advice or referrals.
    • We have gone beyond the minimum requirement of 5 days and committed to reinstating customers premises within 3 working days.
    • We have committed to paying at least 50% more than the 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.
    • 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

  • An outstanding customer experience

    “We will maintain our position as the industry’s leader in customer satisfaction.”

    Our customers want us to minimise our impact on daily lives and make them aware of our service standards. If we don’t meet them we will compensate them appropriately.

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    “We will maintain our position as the industry’s leader in customer satisfaction.”

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    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.
    • 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.
    • 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

  • Help for those who need it most

    “We will support customers who are struggling financially, or in vulnerable circumstances, through an enhanced programme, and through partnerships with expert organisations.”

    Everyone should have bespoke support no matter what their circumstances.

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    “We will support customers who are struggling financially, or in vulnerable circumstances, through an enhanced programme, and through partnerships with expert organisations.”

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    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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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

  • A safe service

    “We will maintain the high standards of safety our customers expect”

    Safety and security should never be compromised.

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    “We will maintain the high standards of safety our customers expect”

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    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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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

  • A thriving environment

    “Our daily operations will be Net Zero by 2031.”

    Be an environmental leader and reduce your carbon footprint.

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    “Our daily operations will be Net Zero by 2031.”

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    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 sciencebased  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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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

  • Securing a green future

    “We will continue our industry leading work to develop sustainable forms of energy and support integrated energy solutions.”

    Build the evidence base for a cleaner, greener energy system.

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    “We will continue our industry leading work to develop sustainable forms of energy and support integrated energy solutions.”

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    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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
  • Improving through innovation

    “We want to invest more than £17.5 million in innovative technology and processes, to deliver core services more efficiently.”

    Continue to work with partners to deliver innovation with impact.

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    “We want to invest more than £17.5 million in innovative technology and processes, to deliver core services more efficiently.”

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    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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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

Read our complete business plan submitted to Ofgem

Download our complete plan