DATE

July and August 2019

AUDIENCE

Customers, Wider Workforce & Supply Chain

ENGAGEMENT

1,022

OBJECTIVES

To test and confirm how far NGN’s draft business plan is in line with your priorities and expectations and to determine whether you found the bill impacts of the proposed plan affordable and acceptable.

YOUR COMMENTS & OUR RESPONSES

Affordability of bills, and the expectation that we will deliver exceptional value for money has been a consistent priority of our customers over the past few years. We tested you on the acceptability of different proposed bill levels, with acceptability from those of you that are domestic customers ranging from 77% to 80% and ranging from 73% to 89% acceptable from those of you that are non-domestic customers. 

In response to this expectation we have committed to reducing the average domestic customer bill from £139 to £127 per annum which will result in a 6% saving for customers each year from 2021-2026.

We asked you to appraise the acceptability of a proposal to restore gas supplies to 90% of appliances within 2 hours of gas being restored to the Emergency Control Valve or within 2 hours of a time agreed with the customer, supported by a commitment to pay £20 compensation if either of these promises are breached. The testing largely supported this proposal with the acceptability between the different groups of you that were questioned ranging from 81% to 100% acceptable.

Because of the positive response you provided in the acceptability testing to this proposal, we have committed to delivering on it in the next business period, from 2021 to 2026. 

You made it clear how important you regarded being provided with adequate notice regarding any planned works. We asked you how acceptable you thought our proposed provision of 7 days’ notice in combination with an enhanced compensation payment in our Business Plan Acceptability study and you told us that you found this measure to range between 87% and 94% acceptable.  

We were pleased to see you thought this was a positive proposal and have decided to provide notification at least 7 working days prior to work commencement, an increase from 5 working days. We will go beyond this by notifying all vulnerable customers 15 working days prior to start of work and offer face-to-face appointments to provide additional support as well as providing a reminder 48 hours in advance.

We informed you of our proposal to train our engineers to identify and help customers in vulnerable situations and you all strongly supported the suggestion, with the results of the acceptability testing ranging from you finding it 90% to 100% acceptable.  

Due to the strong approval of this proposal we have committed to introducing a new target to ensure that all our engineers are well trained to identify and help customers in vulnerable situations. We will tailor this training to suit the needs of specific areas across our network which will be identified via research.

We outlined to you our proposal to raise awareness of carbon monoxide (CO) and although you stated that this was acceptable, you also made it clear that there was a desire for us to take greater action, for instance by installing carbon monoxide alarms in customers’ properties.  

We want to take a proactive approach to educating customers on gas safety and have committed to training 100 community partners per year to deliver carbon monoxide (CO) awareness in our region. Alongside this we shall also be providing free carbon monoxide detectors to all customers who have a new connection to the gas network.

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