The Northern Gas Network’s (NGN) Customer Engagement Group (CEG) is now fully established. An induction meeting took place in September at the Thorpe Park Head office, Leeds. The CEG considered the governance arrangements and noted that there was a wide range of expertise and specialist knowledge among the membership which would be very helpful in fulfilling the Group’s role of scrutinising NGN’s Business Plan and helping ensure that stakeholders are at the heart of the decision-making process.
The Group also agreed that the Governance documents for the CEG would continue to be reviewed on a regular basis throughout the course of the CEG. Alongside this, we agreed to include the following as standing items on each agenda:
- Conflicts of interest
- Review of minutes, action and challenge log
- Effectiveness criteria
What has the CEG covered so far?
On 11th October 2018 the CEG met at the Doxford Park office in Sunderland and were briefed on the work carried out there, focusing on the Customer Care and Dispatch teams. The Group has agreed to alternate meeting locations across NGN’s full network area, to get a good feel for how the business operates on a day to day basis.
In addition, the scope and background to the next price control period for all the gas and electricity transmission and distribution networks (known as RIIO-2) and the assumptions underpinning NGN’s business plan were presented. An introduction was given to National Grid’s Future Energy Scenarios and the potentially differing roles of the gas network in light of policy decisions Government will take part way through the new period (GD2). The Group noted that one of the challenges for NGN is to decide what mechanisms it needs to put in place to deal with a potentially changing strategic approach.
An outline was given on a number of other key issues including the ‘regulatory output framework’ which is a key document in governing what is expected of NGN and other gas networks. The regulator, Ofgem, is considering a number of changes. The following outputs were discussed;
- RIIO GD1 safety outputs including emergency response and repair.
- RIIO GD1 customer service and stakeholder engagement outputs, including proposals being considered by Ofgem for reform.
At the following meeting on 12th November 2018, the CEG met at Thorpe Park. Feedback was provided on a meeting held nationally with the group Ofgem has established to act as a ‘critical friend’, the Customer Challenge Group (CCG). This has a complementary role to the work of the CEG.
NGN provided an overview of the outcomes and commitments around the following;
- Reliability with focus on loss of supply, network capacity and network reliability.
- Social Outputs and the key areas of activity that have been delivered under GD1 in relation to the social output targets.
- Connections and an overview of the proposed changes to Connections for GD2 and the engagement activity that has been undertaken already to develop these proposals.
- Environment, with an overview of the two main environmental outputs that NGN are measured on:
- Broad measures – how NGN contributes to the wider decarbonisation of the gas network through facilitating third party connections of biomethane or greener gas.
- Narrower measures – how NGN are reducing the impact of day to day operations.
The next CEG meeting will take place on Friday 21st December 2018.