Jun 2016
Gas Distribution
Making every contact count – Enhancing protocols for disconnection and condemning ‘in-house’ applian
NIA_NGN_163
Live
Jun 2016
Dec 2019
Northern Gas Networks
Jill Walker
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Network Innovation Allowance
GD - Safety and emergency and Others
Health and Safety and Stakeholder Engagement
£113,220.00
NGN and NEA are to undertake a collaborative research project which would aim to provide NGN with a new set of cross tenure protocols that would ensure vulnerable customers are safeguarded when a GDN has to condemn an unsafe gas appliance.

The innovation in this proposal would be to identify and develop a referral mechanism to help manage a potentially significant issue for the social groups identified and link with the Priority Services Register.

Specifically, phase 1 of the project would seek to:

  • Identify the types of housing where there is a higher probability of a gas leak or Carbon Monoxide (CO) risk

  • Identify the most at risk groups that may be impacted by prolonged periods without a functioning gas appliance (space heating/hot water/cooking appliances)

  • Establish current relevant practices/protocols within NGN’s distribution territory and identify any good practices which would be replicated

  • Establish other relevant current practices/protocols within other GDN areas

  • Design and develop new draft protocols for disconnection and condemning ‘in-house’ appliances

  • Provide a summary report which outlines the analysis above and disseminates the findings to relevant NGN employees, relevant agencies and organisations

We will ensure any draft protocols were developed to ensure they are operationally practicable and reflect the statutory duties on GDN, landlords and/or third parties to ensure the gas safety of a property and the appliance is either repaired or replaced within a reasonable time frame.

The scoping and analysis in Phase 1 of the project could also be built on in order that the new or enhanced protocols that have been identified could be operationalised within NGN’s distribution area through a trial with further refinements made once practical learnings have been applied.

However, regardless of the possibility of a trial phase, if the outputs for phase 1 were achieved, the impact across NGN’s network could be profound and we estimate this could help deliver the following outcomes:

  • Better forecasting of gas leaks or Carbon Monoxide (CO) risks

  • Increased knowledge and understanding of the roles and responsibilities of GDNs amongst referral agencies

  • Reduced morbidity of health impacts caused by cold homes

  • Increased enforcement of housing legislation and action against rogue landlords that do not fulfil current duties

  • An increase in onward referrals for other public sector services

  • Potential for increased local economic activity where remedial goods and services are procured locally

  • Shared learning across GDN networks

  • Build on previous work by NEA with all the GDN which illustrated suitable referral pathways to support low income and vulnerable customers to relevant support schemes (including energy supplier trust funds and other grant making bodies)

  • Further define the role GDNs play in addressing fuel poverty

Phase 1 Feasibility study and summary report of the findings.

Phase 2 Tangible changes to the operations within NGN

Phase 3 Evaluation of effect of changes.    

NEA/NGN have identified the following output and outcome indicators to judge whether phase 1 of the project had delivered the planned objectives*:

I. Number of housing types identified which present a higher probability of a gas leak or Carbon Monoxide (CO) risk

II. Number and breakdown of groups identified that may be impacted by prolonged periods without a functioning gas appliance

III. Number and extent of relevant practices identified within NGN’s distribution territory

IV. Number and extent of relevant practices identified within other GDN areas

V. Number of cross tenure protocols developed verified by NGN and relevant agencies and organisations

VI. Number of opportunities provided for shared learning across GDN networks

VII. Data from local authority Environmental Health departments of any increase in enforcement of housing legislation

VIII. Data from local authority enforcement and licencing teams regarding any increase in action against rogue landlords that do not fulfil current duties

IX. Number of NGN employees provided with an overview of the research findings

X. Number of third party agencies provided with an overview of the research findings

The scoping and analysis in Phase 1 of the project will be built on in order that the new or enhanced protocols that have been identified could be operationalised within NGN’s distribution area through a trial with further refinements made once practical learnings have been applied.

Some outcome indicators would also be assessed using the independent evaluation noted for phase 3. This may require the third party to develop additional metrics, in particular to assess:

I. Any increase in knowledge and understanding of the roles and responsibilities of GDNs

II. Reduced morbidity of health impacts caused by cold homes

III. An increase in onward referrals for other public sector services

IV. Increased local economic activity where remedial goods and services are procured locally