10:52 AM 5th February 2020
Northern Gas Networks Pledge Savings Of £150 Million To Customers Across The North Of England
Northern Gas Networks (NGN), the North of England’s gas distributor, has shared its business plans for next five years in its most ambitious programme of service improvement to date.
The business, which is headquarted in Leeds, has planned a £1.25 billion investment in the network from 2021 – 2026, which is set to deliver £90 million of additional knock-on benefits for the region.
The plan, developed with views and insights from 189,000 stakeholders, aims to deliver long-term savings to customers as well as leading plans to tackle climate change, supporting the most vulnerable in society and providing enduring social and economic value to the region it serves.
After 14 years of being the most efficient gas distributor in Great Britain, Northern Gas Networks has pledged to reduce the average customer bill by 8.6 per cent up until 2026, which equates to a reduction of £150 million over five years.
Northern Gas Networks will invest a further £800 million across the region until 2026, with an additional £440 million spent on operating and maintaining the network to ensure even greater levels of safety and reliability.
Northern Gas Networks plans to reduce its business carbon footprint by 47 per cent over five years, pledging to become carbon neutral by 2031 as part of its drive to tackle climate change. The plan outlines how these goals will be achieved, including through reducing gas leakage by 24 per cent through the continued modernisation of the gas network, introducing new measures to reduce plastic waste, investing in a cleaner vehicle fleet and planting 40,000 trees throughout its network.
With a dedicated hotline for customers on the Priority Services Register alongside a £750,000 NGN Hardship Fund for those in immediate financial need, Community Partnering Fund, which provides grants for life-changing grassroots projects, Northern Gas Networks is committed to continuing to support customers who need assistance most.
Earlier this year, Northern Gas Networks established the industry’s first Citizens Jury, a public panel made up for 50 customers from throughout the region, demographically representative of its customer base throughout Yorkshire, the North East and northern Cumbria. Over a number of months, this group helped to guide and inform the plans for the future and will continue to work alongside the business to shape its services.
Mark Horsley, Chief Executive Officer at Northern Gas Networks, says: “At Northern Gas Networks we have a responsibility to deliver a great value service to our customers throughout the North of England. Our business plan for 2021-2026 is our most ambitious yet and has been shaped by the most extensive consultation exercise in our company’s history. More than 189,000 voices across the region have influenced our plan, and importantly 92% of customers and 96% of future customers have confirmed that they support the proposals they have helped to shape.
“As a business in the heart of the region, our responsibility goes much further than simply delivering a good service, it’s about being a positive influence on the communities that we live and work in and delivering long term prosperity throughout the North. That includes environmental leadership to tackle climate change, supporting the most vulnerable customers in our communities and providing enduring social and economic value to the people that we serve to ensure long-term economic growth and prosperity for the region.”
Northern Gas Networks submitted its final plan to the energy regulator, Ofgem on Monday 9 December, following rigorous reviews and challenge from its independent Customer Engagement Panel (CEG) and Ofgem’s independent Consumer Challenge Panel.
Across March and April, Ofgem will be running a number of open hearings, which provide an opportunity for members of the public to hear submissions and evidence, on various aspects of company’s business plans. To support the open hearings Ofgem has issued a call for evidence.
Northern Gas Networks is encouraging people to provide their views to Ofgem here. You can also register to attend the open hearings which take place on 30 March (12.30 – 4pm) in Newcastle and 3 April (9am – 5pm) in London, via this link.
To support the open hearing process, and to be transparent and helpful, Northern Gas Networks published most of the supporting documents before Christmas. You can access this supporting information on their website. Northern Gas Networks is always interested to hear feedback and is encouraging people to share their views on burning issues here: https://together.northerngasnetworks.co.uk/our-business-plan-2021-2026/
You can read the independent Customer Engagement Panel’s (CEG) final assessment of Northern Gas Networks business plan here and the Consumer Challenge Group’s independent report to Ofgem here, where Northern Gas Networks plan was recognised as one of the strongest in the sector.
Ofgem will assess final business plans following the RIIO-2 Open Hearings, with draft determinations scheduled to be published in June 2020. Ofgem will publish its final determinations in November 2020 and we’ll share their final assessment of our plan on our website.
Anyone that smells gas or suspects carbon monoxide should call the National Gas Emergency Service immediately on 0800 111 999. This line is in operation 24-hours a day, seven days a week.