Energy regulator Ofgem has fined the UK’s largest gas distribution operator Cadent £44M for failing to keep customers supplied during repair works and for errors in record keeping.
Cadent operates and maintains four of the UK’s eight gas networks. It has accepted Ofgem’s rulings.
The company has agreed to pay out a total of £24M, including fines, £6M in compensation to customers and £4.8M to set up a new team to improve service in high-rise buildings.
In addition to the £24M payout, Cadent has committed to setting up a community fund, worth an estimated £20M, to support consumers in vulnerable circumstances.
The fines follow news that the company is to axe 10% of its workforce across the country, cutting 400 jobs to slash costs.
Ofgem began investigating Cadent in 2018, when it discovered that the company was increasingly leaving residents in blocks of flats without gas for longer than necessary while gas pipes were being repaired.
Earlier this year Cadent told Ofgem that, over a six-year period, it failed to pay compensation to a possible 12,000 residents left without gas for over 24 hours.
Ofgem chief executive Dermot Nolan said: “Ofgem has worked with the company, which is under new ownership and has given commitment to improve its operations to put customers at the heart of the business, to help it address its failings and prevent further harm to customers’ interests.
“Cadent has also agreed to make a significant financial contribution to customers as redress in recognition of its past failings. This is a move we welcome.”
Cadent chief executive officer Steve Hurrell added: “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.”
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