/ 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
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.

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 🙂

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!

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.

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

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