/ Home & Energy

No gas for three weeks? No problem…

A gas hob ring turned on

Gas. It’s an underrated three-letter word that perhaps I’d overlooked. That is until I was told my gas was going to be turned off for the next fortnight. I’ve been offered compensation, but is it enough?

To give you some background, I live in a block of flats (a period conversion if you’re interested). And a couple of evenings ago one of my neighbours smelt gas, which turned out to be the result of a gas leak.

As the National Grid considers this a gas emergency; its engineers came along and turned off the juice. They arrived with fan heaters and electric hobs for every flat in the building and assured us they were investigating the leak.

Going without gas

I thought it would be a temporary problem. But alas, our building is filled with asbestos, and so a full survey is required before any work can continue. This means we’re to be without a gas supply for two, maybe three weeks.

‘Surely I can’t be without hot water for three whole weeks?’ I thought. But it seems I can.

The Gas Act states that your Gas Transporter (GT), in my case National Grid, must supply heating and cooking alternatives. As I have a kettle and cooking facilities to boil hot water, it’s not considered essential to provide an alternative source. It’s a bit of a pain to be honest.

However, Ofgem does say my GT should reconnect the gas within 24 hours. But of course, the asbestos problem means it can’t.

In this case, National Grid has offered to pay compensation. For a domestic user, like me, this is £30 for every 24 hours the gas is off. This payment goes to my energy supplier when the gas is reconnected, which then passes it on to me.

Compensation vs convenience

So for the next three weeks I will be boiling plenty of kettles, embracing the gym (and its showers) and the kindness of friends (who still have magical gas in plentiful supply).

I’m pleased I’ll be compensated for the inconvenience, but do you think £30 a day is enough? Have you ever had your gas cut off, and were you compensated accordingly?

Comments
Ian says:
11 March 2016

Our gas was off for about 8 hours whilst a new mains was connected two weeks back. We had to use electric room heaters (supplied by Northern Gas Networks) and the immersion heater. Are we entitled to any compensation?

How much do you think you are entitled to?

My elderly house bound Mother and I have been left without Gas for over three months now.
We were told that there was a leak and it needs to be repaired.

Nothing since, at the time we were given a single electric hot plate, to cook for an extended family of ten people whom visit most weekends, we usually use our large gas cooker.

We used to cook fresh nearly every day and it has been a nightmare, buying processed food, ordering take away and eating so many fried eggs.

Now the single electric plate has stopped working for the last week and a half, I have ordered two new ones online.

We have sent numerous emails to Cadent the company responsible and are constantly given different excuses. In the mean time nothing is being done.

Any suggestions would be gratefully appreciated.

Thank You.

Panos says:
29 January 2018

In my block of flats (80) apparently (because Cadent and CityWest Homes do not disclose the cause) there was a gas leak, the supply on the riser was cut off and all the vertical column of flats were without gas for 5 months! June to November! Yes in 2017, in central London…
They have already paid £1000 (£30 per day up to a max of £1000). It is a good level of compensation for 1 month without gas but not for five months especially since we had to incur expenses for power showers (in the end when we lost hope) and electrical heaters, let alone the unknown electricity consumption. The reason it took so long is because they needed planning permission to install external gas pipes as the building is listed. Needless to say that was a huge mess.
Does anybody know what exactly is this compensation intended for? Why is it limited to £1000 according to Cadent?
The distress, time and costs incurred adding up way above the £1000 they paid…
I wonder if a judge would decide on longer compensation as the length of time was unreasonably too long.

Hi Panos, I’m sorry to hear of the troubles you’ve been having. Unfortunately, we don’t have any advice on this but if you wanted to receive tailored legal advice you can call Which? Legal on 01992 822 828.

I would suggest the landlord or freeholder of the apartment block has some responsibility – notwithstanding the need for planning consent for new gas mains – to provide alternative cooking, heating and hot water facilities and to reimburse the excess costs of using electricity instead of gas. Your local Citizens Advice bureau might be able to help as they could already be aware of the same problem with other residents.

James says:
2 December 2018

Thanks for sharing. How did you go about claiming your compensation?

graham says:
25 September 2018

Hi i just found a similar prob a recently found gas leak has caused my gas to be switched off, due to a leak in the pipes (which run under the adjacent flat to me to the meter outside). I’m not sure when this leak started but i noticed my last bill in July was really high specially for a summer quarter, and now just received my annual gas use summary whis is about 3 times the normal yearly usage can i claim compensation for the really high bill that will be coming my way in October?.The leak was found last Friday 21 Sept when the gas was turned off and the property is privately rented.Many thanks for suggestions

Sorry to hear about this situation, Graham. Sounds very worrying.

Only a Legal adviser can comment on how much you can claim and if you are within your rights after accessing the case.

However, at this stage, I would suggest to do the following:

1) https://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/advice/dispute-an-incorrect-bill – this article describes how to dispute an incorrect bill in general.

2) https://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/letter/letter-to-complain-if-your-energy-supplier-overcharges-you – here is a good letter example you can use in order to dispute your bill. You can send the complaint either by email or post, but we recommend you keep a copy of everything for your own records in case you don’t get the outcome you want and need to escalate it.

3) https://www.ombudsman-services.org/sectors/energy/complain-now – if you are unhappy with an outcome or how the energy company has handled your case you can get in touch with Energy Ombudsman.

I truly hope it will be resolved for you soon, especially with this cold weather. Please, keep me updated!

Robert Smith says:
11 October 2019

I had no gas for 8 months once when the meter was stolen with they said £118 in,they cut me off with 5 kids under 6.