Your Network Operator Standards

 
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Your Network Operators' Commitment to You

A Network Operator is the company that operates the pipes and cables which transport energy to your property. They’re the ‘gas transporters’ and ‘electricity distributors’ - the people you call when there’s a gas leak or a power cut.

Your Network Operator has a set of standards which they must also keep to in England, Scotland and Wales and, if they do not keep to these standards, they will need to pay you compensation.

You can find out who your energy Network Operators are by visiting the Energy Networks Association website here.

At Green Star Energy, we are referred to as an ‘energy supplier’, which means we handle your meter reads and billing. Our responsibilities to you are different to those of your network operators. Find out more about our commitments to you here.

The following are details of the guaranteed standards you can expect from both your gas transporters and electricity distributors and the compensations they pay:

Gas Transporter Standards       Electricity Distributor Standards


Guaranteed Standards for Gas Transporters

The following guaranteed standards have been set by Ofgem for all gas transporters operating in England, Scotland and Wales and cover:

  • Delivering connection quotes;
  • Connecting your property to the gas supply;
  • Restoring your supply;
  • Reinstating the supply after work at your property;
  • The provision of alternative heating and cooking facilities to priority customers;
  • The notification of any planned works which will interrupt your gas supply;
  • Responding to complaints.

Failure to meet the standards outlined below for gas transporters will mean you are entitled to compensation.

Additionally, Ofgem set License Conditions which require that the gas transporter meets minimum service levels, measured annually. These refer to answering and responding to phone calls and the time taken to respond to any gas related emergencies.

Finally, the gas transporter is only responsible for the pipes that supply your property, not supplying your gas or reading your meter, these are the responsibility of the gas supplier.

 

1. Quotes for new gas connections

It is the responsibility of the gas transporter to deliver you quotes for setting up new gas connections. For a ‘standard’ connection you should receive a quote within 6 working days providing the company has all necessary information and any fees have been paid.

‘Non-standard’ connections, i.e. those in tall buildings or more complicated jobs should receive a quote within 11 working days. For ‘non-standard’ connections at properties which require over 275 kilowatts per hour (kWh) the quote should be delivered within 21 working days.

For connections of less than 275 kWh you will be compensated £10 plus £10 for every consequent working day the quote is late to a maximum of £250. For connections of 275 kWh or more you will be compensated £20 plus £20 for every consequent working day it’s late, up to £500. If you have omitted or failed to supply information necessary to generating an accurate quote, you will not be entitled to compensation.

2. The accuracy of quotes

It is the responsibility of the gas transporter to provide an accurate quote in accordance with their own accuracy scheme. If the gas transporter does over-quote you, you are entitled to a correct quote and any money paid over the accurate quote will be refunded.

If the accurate quote is delivered late you are entitled to the same compensation as is outlined under the ‘quotes for new gas connections’ section.

3. Establishing a new connection

If you have accepted the gas transporter’s quote they must set commencement and completion dates for you within 20 working days. Failure to meet these agreed upon dates will result in compensation, the amount of which is dependent upon the size of the connection:

  • Connection work of up to 275kWh per hour: £20, plus £20 for every consequent working day the job is late up to a maximum of £250;
  • Connection work over 275kWh per hour: £40, plus £40 for every consequent working day the job is late up to a maximum of £500.

If the total of your contract is lower than these maximum amounts, you will be refunded the sum of your contract instead.

4. Planned works

If the gas transporter needs to turn off your supply whilst they carry out planned work, they must inform you at least 5 days in advance. They should also explain to you what work they’re carrying out and how long you will be disconnected for.

If they turn off your supply and do not warn you in advance, you are entitled to compensation of:

  • £20 at a domestic property;
  • £50 at a non-domestic property.

You must claim your compensation within 3 months of your supply being turned off.

5. Restoring your supply after a non-planned interruption

If the supply of gas to your home is interrupted by something other than planned works, the gas transporter must reconnect you within 24 hours. Under these circumstances those who are on the Priority Services Register will be made a priority and can expect:

  • To have something to cook with;
  • To have something to heat their property.

These should be delivered within 4 hours of the gas transporter being alerted to the supply interruption. If the gas transporter has to assist more than 250 customers at the same time this can take up to 8 hours (between the working hours of 8am and 8pm). Failure to provide these facilities within this time frame will entitle you to compensation of £24.

If they do not restore the gas supply to your property within 24 hours you are entitled to compensation of:

  • £30 per full day of disconnection at a domestic property;
  • £50 per full day of disconnection at a non-domestic property that uses up to 73,200 kWh per year, up to maximum compensation of £1,000.

For non-domestic properties that use over 73,200 kWh per year the gas transporter will arrange a different way of paying compensation.

Compensation will not be paid if the supply interruption was caused by third party damage.

6. Reinstating supply after work at your property

If the gas transporter has to relay or replace the gas pipes that supply your property, they must reinstate the supply within 5 working days. If, during this process, they have to rearrange your property (i.e. digging up your garden to access pipes), they must ensure everything is repaired and returned to normal.

If they do not reinstate the gas supply to your property within 5 working days you are entitled to compensation of:

  • £50 at a domestic property, and £50 for every 5 working days interruption continues thereafter
  • £100 at a non-domestic property, and £100 for every 5 working days interruption continues thereafter

7. Responding to complaints

Whether you make a complaint on the phone or in writing, your gas transporter must reply to you within 10 working days. In some circumstances the gas transporter may need to send someone to your property to investigate the complaint. If this is the case, they must confirm this to you within 10 working days, and then deliver a final reply to your complaint within 20 days of first receiving it.

If you do not receive an answer to your complaint within 10 working days (or within 20 working days if they need to pay you a visit), you are entitled to compensation of £20. For every 5 working days thereafter that you do not receive an answer you are entitled to a further £20 up to the value of £100.

8. Late compensation payments

The gas transporter must pay your compensation within 20 working days. If they do not you will receive an extra one-time payment of £20.

In accordance with Section 39A (5) of the Electricity Act 1989 any guaranteed standard payments you receive won’t affect your entitlement to any other action or remedy that may be open to you due to your distribution company’s failure.

9. Customer service and response targets

Gas transporters are required by Ofgem to meet the standards outlined in their operating licence and meet the following targets: 

90% of phone calls to either their 24-hour National Gas Emergency Service line, or the general enquiry line and the meter point reference number helpline (during their operational hours) must be answered within 30 seconds.

97% of gas leaks must be responded to within:

  • 1 hour if the leak is an uncontrolled emergency
  • 2 hours if the leak is ‘controlled’

Exclusions to guaranteed standards for gas transporters

As agreed with Ofgem, there certain exclusions to the guaranteed standards set out above, including:

  • Severe weather;
  • Industrial action;
  • Damage caused by the customer;
  • Third party actions;
  • Lack of access to the property;
  • Legal or legislative constraints;
  • Labour disputes;
  • Unsafe work conditions.

If the gas transporter does refuse to pay compensation on any of these grounds, it is their responsibility to demonstrate that they have gone to reasonable lengths to meet these standards.


Guaranteed Standards for Electricity Distributors

The following guaranteed standards have been set by Ofgem for all electricity distributors operating in England, Scotland & Wales and cover:

  • Restoring your supply;
  • Repeat supply failures;
  • Main fuse replacement;
  • Power shortages;
  • Planned maintenance;
  • Voltage issues;
  • New connection quotes;
  • Connection contact, commencement and completion;
  • Appointments.

Failure to meet the standards set for electricity distributors outlined below will mean you are entitled to compensation, the amount of which is also outlined.

Your energy distributor is only responsible for the wires and cables that supply your property, not supplying your electricity or reading your meter. These are the responsibility of the electricity supplier.

Finally, in line with Section 39A (5) of the Electricity Act 1989 (as amended by the Utilities Act 2000), any guaranteed standard payments you receive will not prejudice your entitlement to any other remedy or action that may be due to you because of our failure.

 

1. Restoring your supply

If your home has lost power in normal weather conditions the electricity distributor guarantees to restore supply within:

  • 12 hours if less than 5,000 homes have been affected
  • 24 hours if more than 5,000 homes have been affected

In non-normal weather conditions, and depending upon the cause of the power outage, the electricity distributor follows other standards. These are outlined here:

  STANDARD
CATEGORY 1 Medium Events If the weather has caused between 8 and 13 times the ‘normal’ amount of voltage faults not due to lightning, or at least 8 times this amount due to lightning the distributor promises to restore supply within 24 hours
CATEGORY 2
Large Events
In the case of non-lightning events, and when there are at least 13 times the normal amount of faults in a 24 hour period, the distributor promises to restore supply within 48 hours.
CATEGORY 3
Very Large Events
In the case of extreme weather, in which electricity supply is lost to at least 35% of homes in the area, the distributor will need to calculate a restoration period based on the amount of homes affected.


If the electricity distributor does not meet these standards you will be entitled to the following compensation:

  • £75 at a domestic property
  • £150 at a non-domestic property

You can claim a further £35 for every 12 hours that elapses until the supply is restored up to £300 if the power cut affected 5,000 or more customers’ premises.

In the case of category 1, 2 or 3 events you will be compensated £70 plus a further £70 for each additional 12 hours your home is without electricity, up to a total of £700.

Compensation can be expected to be paid within a ‘reasonable time frame’, which will be specified by the distributor depending upon the severity of the issue.

2. Repeat supply failures

If you encounter more than four power cuts of more than 3 hours at your property between the 1 April and 31 March, you will be entitled to £75 compensation.

Applications for compensation must be submitted within 3 months of the end of March of that year, and you must supply details of the supply failure including the dates of the failures. If you have already received compensation for these incidents you cannot include them in your claim.

3. Main fuse replacement

If the main fuse between the incoming supply cable and your meter has failed, and you report it to the electricity distributor between 7am and 7pm on working days, they should attend your property within 3 hours. If the fault is reported on any other day between 9am and 5pm they should attend your property within 4 hours. Reports made outside of these times will be picked up from the beginning of the next working day.

If the distributor does not stick to these time frames you will be compensated £30.

4. Power shortages

In cases where your network operator needs to shut off your electricity because there isn’t enough to supply all the houses in the area, they should return supply to your property within 24 hours.

If they do not do this, you will be entitled to:

  • £75 at a domestic property
  • £150 at a non-domestic property

5. Planned maintenance

If the supply of electricity to your property needs to be halted in order for the electricity distributor to run planned maintenance works they should inform you at least 2 days in advance.

Failure to give you enough warning, or if they cut your supply on a different day to the one specified, you will be entitled to:

  • £30 at a domestic property
  • £60 at a non-domestic property

6. Voltage issues

If you are experiencing issues with electricity voltage at your property, the distributor must either attend your property within 7 working days or explain the issue in writing within 5 working days.

Failure to do so will entitle you to compensation of £30.

7. New connection quotes

If you require an budget estimate
If you require an estimate for a new electricity connection at your property, the electricity distributor should deliver this to you in 10 working days. If the connection is larger than 1 megavolt amp (MVA) - 40 times higher than in most domestic properties - the electricity distributor should deliver an estimate within 20 working days.

If the estimate is not delivered to you within this time frame you will be compensated £65.

If you require a formal quote
If you request a formal quote to establish a new connection to the power grid, the amount of time the distributor has to deliver this quote will depend upon the size of the job.

These guaranteed time frames and compensation figures are outlined here:

 

  DEMAND TIMESCALE
(working days)
LATE QUOTATION COMPENSATION
(per working day)
LOW VOLTAGE, SINGLE DEMAND
(e.g. moving a meter)
5 £15
LOW VOLTAGE, SMALL DEMAND 
(e.g. connecting up to 4 units to the grid
15 £15
OTHER LOW VOLTAGE CONNECTIONS 25
(45 working days generation time)
£65
HIGH VOLTAGE 
(35-230 kilovolts)
25
​(65 working days generation time)
£135
EXTRA HIGH VOLTAGE
(230+ kilovolts)
65
(65 working days generation time)
£200

 

You can choose to challenge any quote for a single low voltage project through your network operator’s website. If you do this and it was too high the quote will be corrected, you will be paid back the excess and be paid compensation. If the quote was too low you will need to pay the excess.

If the quote was too high you will be entitled to the following compensation:

  • £335 for a low voltage single demand connections;
  • £670 for low voltage small demand projects.

These inaccuracy payments are not applicable to other voltage connections. If you have omitted or failed to supply information necessary to generating an accurate quote you will not be entitled to compensation.

8. Connection contact, commencement and completion

If you have accepted the terms of the quote and paid in full (or an agreed upon portion of your payment plan), the electricity distributor should contact you within 7 working days to set a date for the commencement of your connection. This contact time will be longer for bigger, more complicated projects.

At this point it may not always be possible to set an exact date as certain permissions may still be pending. If this is the case, your distributor will inform you of these circumstances and will advise you of when you can expect a date to be set.

The following is a breakdown of the compensation payments you can expect for late contact regarding your connection:

  CONTACT TIMESCALE
(working days)
COMPENSATION AMOUNT
(per working day)
LOW VOLTAGE, SINGLE DEMAND
(e.g. moving a meter)
7 £15
OTHER LOW VOLTAGE CONNECTIONS 7 £65
HIGH VOLTAGE 
(35-230 kilovolts)
10 £135
EXTRA HIGH VOLTAGE
(230+ kilovolts)
15 £200


Dates will be agreed upon to commence, complete and energise the supply. These can be changed on your request, or if you and the electricity distributor come to an agreement, or if the distributor has a proper reason for changing the dates (these are outlined below).

Failure to meet the agreed upon commencement and completion dates will entitle you to the following compensation:

 

  LATE COMMENCEMENT PAYMENT LATE COMPLETION PAYMENT
(per working day)
LATE SUPPLY ENERGISING PAYMENT
(per working day)
LOW VOLTAGE, SINGLE DEMAND
(e.g. moving a meter)
- £35 -
OTHER LOW VOLTAGE CONNECTIONS £25 £135 £135
HIGH VOLTAGE 
(35-230 kilovolts)
£25 £200 £200
EXTRA HIGH VOLTAGE
(230+ kilovolts)
£25 £270 £270


Exemptions to these guaranteed time frames and compensations include situations in which:

  • Severe weather disrupts the distributor’s ability to work;
  • Obtaining way-leave or other permissions is causing delays;
  • Safety concerns prevent the distributor undertaking live work on their system;
  • Prerequisite works have not been completed. 

9. Appointments

If your network operator needs to visit your property they should offer you an appointment either in the morning before 1pm, or in the afternoon after 12pm. Upon request you can narrow this down to a two hour time window.

The failure to keep to these appointment standards will entitle you to compensation of £30. This does not apply to appointments regarding new connections.

Claiming compensation from your electricity distributor

There are certain guarantees for which, if the distributor contravenes their guarantee, you will have to directly contact the distributor to make a claim. These are guarantees relating to:

  • The restoration of supply in any weather condition;
  • Repeat supply failures;
  • Power shortages;
  • Planned maintenance notices.

In order to claim your compensation you need to call your distributor’s general enquiries line, they will then explain how to claim. If you and the electricity distributor cannot agree to the terms of your compensation you can refer your case to Ofgem.

For guarantees relating to connections the electricity distributor will either make a payment by bank transfer or cheque, or add credit to your connection invoice within 10 working days. If they fail to pay your compensation on time they will pay you a further £65.

For any other guarantee that they have failed to meet, the distributor will either notify you directly, or your energy supplier. Any compensation owed will then either be paid to your energy supplier or directly to you within 10 working days of becoming aware of the failure, unless a different method is noted above. Failure to either notify you or your supplier will entitle you to further compensation of £30.

Complaints

Complaints about your electricity distributor can be made by contacting them directly. If your complaint is not resolved to your satisfaction you may refer your complaint on to the Ombudsman Services:Energy by calling 0330 440 1624 or visiting their website: Ombudsman-Services.org/Energy.

Performance standards

The performance standards for electricity distributors can be found on the Citizens Advice Bureau website at CitizensAdvice.org.uk.

 

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