Gas firms fined over leaks response

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Two major utility firms will be fined a combined £5.2m for failing to attend potentially dangerous gas leaks on time, the energy watchdog said.

National Grid Gas (NGG), which owns four networks in the UK, will be fined £4.3m, while Leeds-based Northern Gas Networks (NGN), which owns one network in northern England, will be fined £900,000 for failing to hit targets for attending gas escapes on time last winter.

Gas Distribution Network Operators (GDNs) have annual targets to respond to 97 per cent of uncontrolled gas escapes within one hour, and 97 per cent of controlled gas escapes within two hours.

Rachel Fletcher, of Ofgem, said: “Ofgem accepts that many parts of Britain experienced bad weather conditions over the last year and individual members of staff from NGN and NGG worked hard in difficult conditions to reach customers that reported gas escapes.

“However, both companies need to plan better for bad weather and ensure that adequate resources and contingency plans are in place to meet the annual targets.”