/ 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
Profile photo of wavechange
Member

£30 compensation per day seems quite generous. Other customers have to meet this cost.

It is not the fault of the gas transporter that asbestos has to be dealt with and perhaps there is a case for not providing compensation until this has been done. We do not know when the building was converted to flats but I can remember asbestos removal work being done on a building in the 1970s, so that an upgraded heating system could be installed.

Having said that, I do feel sorry for Jayne.

Profile photo of malcolm r
Member

This is just an unfortunate occurrence that is no-one’s fault, and it seems that all are doing what is necessary to sort it out. I think you are very fortunate to be getting up to £600 compensation. That’s about free gas for a year? What would you expect them to do? Luckily the leak was spotted before it became a disaster! I’d be relieved.

Member
Em says:
3 June 2013

Does your hot water system not have an electric immersion heater for backup? £30 would easily pay for the cost. It’s about 6kWH to heat a 200-litre tank – £1 worth of electric. It’s not the fault of the gas supplier if you do not.

If fact, you are lucky to have gas at all. We had to survive for 2 weeks without any energy after the 1987 storm, as we have no gas mains supply in this area and the power cables were down. No compensation either.

Member
Em says:
3 June 2013

I do have every sympathy, of course. Not being able to wash or clean your clothes is not fun for you (or your co-workers!) and particularly if you have young children to look after. Just don’t expect compensation for every inconvenience life throws at you 🙂

Profile photo of Jayne Lutwyche
Member

I’m quite lucky as I have friends nearby whose shower I can use, but being without gas is a complete nightmare. We unfortunately don’t have an immersion heater in our flat otherwise there’d be no problem. I think I’d prefer the hot water to the compensation!

Profile photo of wavechange
Member

Whoever designed the flats should have given some thought to this sort of problem. Even though gas supplies are rarely cut off, modern gas boilers are not reliable, leaving people without heating and hot water. That is hard on the elderly and those who are ill or disabled.

A gas fire or portable electric heaters are well worth having. Many homes do not have a hot water tank, so an immersion heater is out of the question. Here it is best to have an electric shower.

Hopefully the problem will be sorted out sooner than expected. At least the weather is warmer than it has been in the last few months.

Profile photo of Jayne Lutwyche
Member

I’m hoping the problem gets sorted quickly too – I’m rather grateful that the sun is out at the moment! National Grid have supplied us with heaters and an electric hob until our supply is back on.

Member
Hello McFly says:
18 October 2014

[This comment has been edited to align with our community guidelines. Thanks, mods]

Profile photo of John Ward
Member

It is a possibility that Hello McFly might have considered that the esteemed and astute contributor Em, in making his comment, was supposing – in the absence of any evidence to the contrary – that as well as being without an immersion heater Jayne did not have the luxury of a washing machine in her flat either. It’s not unusual.

Profile photo of jgh30
Member

Did you have a survey before buying and, if so, did this warn you of the presence of asbestos?

Is the cost of the new survey and asbestos safety works going to be charged to gas customers or to the landlord and, if the latter, will the landlord pass this on to leaseholders through the service charge?

This one could run and run with the level of compensation for lack of gas becoming the least of your problems. If you haven’t got one already, form a residents’ group to talk with one voice.

Profile photo of Jayne Lutwyche
Member

I’m a tenant so no survey, there’s also no asbestos in our flat but there is asbestos in a number of the other flats – including the basement flat through which the supply enters the building. The landlords are all paying for the asbestos removal themselves as this needs to be completed before the gas work can resume.

Member
michael yorke says:
27 February 2014

Question? I had a problem with my gas cooker I reported it to national grid the enginer came out and sort it out now can I go and ask them for a report in writing?

Thank you:

Michael yorke

Member
bishbut says:
13 August 2017

I could have done a better job than the gas engineer who came to seal a leaking gas pipe but I was not allowed to do it and done it sooner too

Profile photo of duncan lucas
Member

You probably could Bishbut , I replaced my cooker flexible hose with a high quality one using better sealant+tape than they use , never had a gas engineer out . There again working as a hospital engineer I had courses on high pressure steel/copper piping replacement in a (at the time ) government engineering training base near Bristol , probably closed down now . Its frowned on now in case you “blow yourself up ” but its “okay ” if the “qualified guys ” do it (then you can sue )

Profile photo of malcolm r
Member

This reminds me of my grandparents – no hot water system at all, just kettles boiled on a coal-fired range in the living room. Friday nights brought the small tin (well, galvanised steel) bath tub out in front of the fire, 4 kettles of water, and a stand-up bath for two, in the same water. Those were the days.
I still have a galvanised bath tub I could lend you if it’s any use!
Asbestos gave my son a problem when he discovered some in a concrete cupboard that had housed an electric boiler in an ex-council house. He had to move out for 2 months while the asbestos was removed, the whole house thoroughly cleaned and anything that could harbour fibres removed – from curtains and carpets to toaster. Luckily covered by insurance.

Profile photo of Figgerty
Member

The compensation is quite generous but nothing really compensates for being able to bath and shower in your own home. You would be in a pickle if you did not have the gym to shower in and the goodwill of your friends.

My grandmother boiled a large black pot of water on a crane over the open inglenook style fireplace and there was plenty for a couple of steel baths by the time she added cold water. I don’t remember anyone smelling of BO at the time and the Friday or Saturday night bath was something to look forward to. My grandmother lived like this until she died in 1971 and thought that those who showered or bathed every day would wash their bodies natural oils away.

Profile photo of dave d
Member

The compensation is indeed most generous in today’s society and is certainly not to be sniffed at.

The fact that there is no sensible way to ensure hot water during this work is just another cendemnatory factor about the fashion (or fad) for combi-boilers and about the prevailing attitude of “all eggs in one basket” by using gas as an almost universal and sole source of heating energy.

With a proper boiler – regardless of fuel – a hot water cylinder would still be in place and an immersion would be present or could be retro-fitted by a half decent plumber in under 2 hours for very little cost – certainly far less than the total compensation you seem likely to receive.

Additionally, this again raises the question of giving serious consideration to alternative fuel types and prompts me to ask again why Which? never review Solid Fuel Boilers or Electric Boilers. Solid fuel is probably not ideal (may even be prohibited on safety grounds) in a block of flats, but for many they are a viable alternative to gas and are cheaper to run than gas. Electric boilers are usually consiodered ideal in flats, but can be expensive to run in larger properties and probably not ideal for houses – especially larger ones. They’re well worth being tested and reported on though, as I have asked Which? to do several times, to no avail.

All in all, Jayne is in an unfortunate position which I greatly sympathise with, but it could have been mitigated quite a lot had it not been the fashion for 30 years plus to regard gas as THE fuel for water and space heating, to the exclusion of all else.

Hope you get it fixed soon Jayne.

Profile photo of wavechange
Member

Dave

It would probably be easy to replace a hot water tank that has been removed, but there is often nowhere sensible to fit one, and the cost of the plumbing work can be expensive. There is this theory that plumbers charge more than brain surgeons.

I would not want to be without my hot water tank or immersion heater, though the only time that is used is when I knock on the switch in the airing cupboard.

Profile photo of malcolm r
Member

Dave D, when I installed my central heating we had no gas supply so bought a second-hand hopper fed coal boiler, using anthracite beans. It worked well for 20 years but I would not call it particularly cheap to run as the heat exchanger was not that efficient. It also means storing coal (not easy to get now) and carrying it to the boiler as well as removing ash – not really appropriate for a flat. We now have gas – and an immersion heater in a hot water cylinder. I don’t know whether modern solid fuel boilers are better.
As for an electric boiler, I looked briefly at this but with off peak 70% more expensive than gas, not a viable alternative.

Profile photo of Figgerty
Member

Jayne, are you now back in your flat? Did the works complete on schedule and did you receive the compensation you were entitled to?

Profile photo of Jayne Lutwyche
Member

The gas was turned on last Thursday – Huzzah! We haven;t received the compensation yet but this takes about six weeks from when the gas was turned on. So no more boiling kettles but no remuneration as of yet. I’ll keep you posted.

Profile photo of Jayne Lutwyche
Member

Just an update. My housemate and I received our compensation (£450 each) today. It was very promptly paid so we’re very happy – and we’re able to put the nightmare of no hot water for three weeks behind us.

Profile photo of malcolm r
Member

This does seem extremely generous of the National Grid when the main delay – asbestos – was presumably not their responsibility? When my son discovered asbestos in his house it was his household insurance company that paid for its removal and his relocation costs; I don’t know why the gas transporter should be resposible.

Profile photo of Jayne Lutwyche
Member

Hi Malcom, To clarify, the asbestos was removed at the cost of the leaseholders not the gas board. The compensation is for the time without gas only. The only reason the asbestos had to be removed was because a completely new route for the gas supply had to be navigated through the building which meant disturbing parts of the building which otherwise would not have been disturbed.

Profile photo of malcolm r
Member

Jayne, thanks for the clarification. My point was, though, if the presence of asbestos was not part of the gas installation and therefore just delayed a reconnection of the gas supply, and it was not the Gas Transporter’s responsibility, then I would have thought they were not liable for providing compensation – this should have been for the building owners (insurance)?
Still, I bet you’re glad to have your shower back now summer’s arrived!

Profile photo of Jayne Lutwyche
Member

Yes I’m very glad to have the shower back! It’s needed in this weather (though I’m not objecting to all the lovely sunshine we’ve been having).

Profile photo of ADono
Member

Hi Jayne,

I’m currently in a situation where the gas in my flat is cut off and is likely to stay that way for a couple of weeks at least. It was caused due to shop fitters (for a Morrison’s supermarket) on the ground floor of our building damaging the main line for our building.

We’ve been quoted the £30 per 24 hour compensation as well but i noticed you and your flatmate received £450 EACH! Does that mean the compensation is £30 per person per 24 hrs rather than £30 per property?

I own the property with my fiancé and we have her brother living with us as well so it would be good to know if we can expect £30 each, which we’d be happy with, or effectively £10 each which doesn’t seem fair.

Many thanks

Anthony

Profile photo of Figgerty
Member

I forgot for a minute that you stayed in your flat but used the gym and a friends place for showers.

Profile photo of Figgerty
Member

It is nice to know when things go smoothly. Good luck in spending the compensation.

Member
Catherine says:
29 November 2013

How about no gas for over 8 weeks and no signs of it being fixed in the near future. As for the maximum £1000 compensation I have received they can shove it.

Member
Wendy Jones says:
6 December 2013

my son has had no gas supply to the block since 2nd september 2013 12 weeks later still no gas they have been offered £1000.00. he has not took it as its not enough his little girl has had to come and stay with me I’ve had to take her to school and back to mine the blow out heaters are not good for her. national grid have a lot to answer to

Member
Adrian Partridge says:
2 January 2014

British gas has not provided me with gas since we moved in on the 16 december2013.the gas is on a prepayment meter which the previous occupant left a large debt on! Despite numerous phone calls they have still done nothing and are now seemingly ignoring my emails.i am looking forward to my compensation but would prefer heat hot water and cooking facilities.

Profile photo of Patrick Steen
Member

Very sorry to hear about this Adrian. Here’s our guide on how to complain to energy companies, including taking it to the Ombudsman: http://www.which.co.uk/switch/energy-advice/how-to-complain- I hope it helps.

Member
Adrian Partridge says:
2 January 2014

Thanks for the advice I am waiting online as I type this waiting time 5 minutes but been on hold 15 so far.hey ho

Member
nathan bennett says:
25 July 2014

I live in a private rented property. The gas boiler was leaking water frim september 2013 and got so bad we had to stop useing it till dec 28 .Two months without heating.The landlor
d got a unqualiffied man to do the gaswork .since dec28 till june 10 we have two gas leaks one on the mains ( anaconda) because flux drip on pipe and made hole and as on the inlet on the meter.. Hse are involved . 20bar-2mins. How much compo should i exspect in court.

Member
Rae Carroll says:
6 September 2014

More than a year ago I noticed the smell of gas whenever I was in my kitchen and when the window was open. I made a complaint and a representative came to our flat to check it out. He checked the kitchen but couldn’t detect any gas. We are finally having the works done on our estate and it has been recognised there was a gas leak. Therefore, the gas was turned off! It has caused major disruption in our home. Getting ready on time for work in the morning and not having running hot water and having to boil the kettle for hot water caused us major problems. We were also expecting guests at this time, which made it even more difficult. We would’ve preferred to have had our hot water than going without. We more than deserve any compensation and more as we had to wait for the works to take place and the gas leak was a danger to myself and my family.

Member

hello there just wondering if I could claim some kind of compensation as I have been informed there is a gas fracture and its affecting the elswick and great eccleston area and we have benn informed its going to be off for 3 days I am a disabled person and need the heat to keep warm and to wash daily I got told if I have electricity heater I have to use it but the outcome of that is that it eats elcectricity and my electric bill will soon run up so I think they should compensate us for the inconvenience as the bill that is going to mount up do you think I have a case many thanks bob hickibottom

Profile photo of Andrew Collins
Member

Hi Bob, thanks for your message – I’m sorry to hear that you’re going to be without gas for the next couple of days.

It’s difficult to say, as it’s only a short period without gas, but in your position I would contact your supplier for further advice. You could also get in touch with our Which? Legal team for assistance:

http://legalservice.which.co.uk/

Member
Matt R says:
26 February 2015

Will the £30 compensation from National Grid be sent to me or do I have to apply for it? If so how they do not tell you! My gas came back on yesterday after being off for 25 days so £750 is due. Thank you.

Profile photo of Andrew Collins
Member

Hi Matt, we think you’d be entitled to compensation – You should write to your gas transporter to claim. You can find out who your gas transporter is, here:

http://www2.nationalgrid.com/UK/Our-company/Gas/Gas-Distribution-Network/

Thereafter, they must pay you within 20 working days of your claim.

Member
Ashleigh says:
2 August 2015

I moved into my house on the 8th of June with my at the time 3 months old we are still without gas I have to boil water and carry it through a house to make baths and have burnt myself many times im about to enter my 9th week without gas and my housing association don’t seem to care, if im honest im thinking about going for compensation now as living life this is causing me so much stress the house is getting colder and my daughter is now only hair 5 months I don’t know what to do!

Member
Nesha says:
23 August 2015

National grid has been working in our area since 3/8/2015 to replace pipes. They gave NO notice to residents before starting work. They want access to property to turn on and off supply all day.
When asked for ID they have not been able to supply one.

However on 20/8/2015 they managed to disconnect our gas supply and we have been without gas since 20/8/2015. We are in Hayes and Harlington.

Profile photo of ValAsh
Member

Hi, we paid national grid £890 for a new gas supply for our flat as it only had electricity before and we wanted gas central heating. It took 5 months to get the pipeline installed 5m from the mains in the street to the house after they cancelled the installation 3 times. We did not have any heating and hot water from July until end of November. Customer service was atrocious and we had to make over 50 phone calls to finally get the supply. We have been offered £700 compensation, does this sound reasonable and does anyone have any other experiences like this?

Member
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?

Profile photo of malcolm r
Member

How much do you think you are entitled to?

Member

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.