Cadent, today (22/05/19) acknowledged historical service-related issues and has issued an unreserved apology to customers who have been affected. We have been working closely and constructively with Ofgem over the last 12 months to ensure that these past issues are rectified.
- Cadent apologises to customers in London for delays in getting their gas back on and acknowledges historical missing records
- Cadent has responded to redress the issues
- Under new ownership, Cadent is transforming its business to put the customer at the heart of everything it does
- Cadent is establishing a new £20million community fund
Steve Hurrell, chief executive officer, said “We aim to put customers’ needs at the heart of everything we do, and we acknowledge that in the past, we have fallen short of customer expectations and the higher standards we have now set ourselves; for this we are sorry.
“It is important within the energy sector to have a strong regulator to ensure customer interests are protected and we are working closely with Ofgem to restore confidence in us and build trust in our future plans.
"While Cadent is a relatively new business, some of its record keeping processes and practices go back many decades, and a number of the issues we are addressing today are a legacy of that past. We are taking the opportunity to reshape the company to set new standards of customer experience and are investing significantly through our community fund to reach those customers in the most vulnerable situations.”
The issues and solutions
- Historical records of high-rise buildings1: In early 2018, we discovered a number of high-rise residential buildings were not registered on Cadent’s records and therefore not part of the rolling programme of surveys. The problem was caused by the quality of historical data, relevant to these buildings, dating back decades. We immediately undertook a programme of additional surveys, all of which were completed by September 2018, when our database was updated, and processes to ensure that our records remain accurate were established. We accept we have fallen short of certain conditions of our licence and have agreed to make a £3m payment to the Energy Savings Trust in recognition of the impact this had.
- Past delays of compensation payments: We have discovered that a small proportion of our customers did not receive compensation payments for being ‘off gas’, for more than 24hrs, as quickly as they should have. We have introduced new administration procedures to ensure all future payments are made promptly.
- Time ‘off gas’: When we disconnect gas for essential safety work, it is our policy to get our customers back ‘on gas’ as quickly as possible. However, some of our customers in high-rise blocks of flats in London have been without gas for longer than was desired. We have now established a new team dedicated to minimising the number of customers we need to take off gas and, when disconnection is unavoidable; will ensure enhanced support is available.
To recognise the impact of these three issues, Cadent will make a total payment of £8.9m 2
to the Energy Savings Trust to support its important ongoing work.
Cadent has already invested £3.6m in the investigation and additional surveys necessary to address the problem with our records; and we are investing a further £2.3m a year in the new team dedicated to minimising the impact of interruptions to gas supplies across our networks, in particular London.
Our commitment to our customers
We are starting this transformation journey by first listening to our customers and understanding their needs. This will allow us to transform our business by simplifying Cadent for our customers and our people. We will address every area of our business - from customer service and data, to how we deliver our field operations. We will ensure that accountability and decision making is devolved to the four regions we cover for the benefit of our customers.
As part of the commitment to our customers, we are increasing compensation payments3
and are setting up a community fund4
to support communities, customers and particularly those in vulnerable situations.
Steve Hurrell, chief executive officer, said: “We know the vital role Cadent plays in transporting gas across our network to keep customers safe and warm. We are also aware that, increasingly, consumers expect businesses to play a role in helping communities flourish. This is particularly true for utility companies given the essential services they provide. Our board has been working to identify the best way for Cadent to demonstrate this wider corporate and social responsibility. The community fund we are establishing is ground-breaking in its commitment to support the communities we serve.”