£8,000 will be donated to essential services by Southern Gas Network as compensation for a partial pipeline shutdown in Tooting this month.
In a gesture of goodwill and apology, SGN will donate £5,000 to the St George’s Hospital A&E department in Tooting and £3,000 to Wandsworth Foodbank, showing solidarity with the essential services affected by March’s partial network shutdown, when emergency maintenance works left 1,302 properties without gas for up to two weeks.
Doctor Rosena Allin-Khan, MP for Tooting, worked with SGN since disruptions began on March 6 to ensure full support and compensation was provided to those affected, and suggested the donation to the foodbank.
Dr Allin-Khan MP said: “I’m glad Southern Gas Network have agreed to donate this money to St George’s Hospital A&E department, and to Wandsworth Foodbank.
“I know it won’t make up for the problems and discomfort caused to many people by the serious disruption to the gas network, but the money will be put to good use and will help those in need.
“As many of the worst-affected buildings were apartments for NHS workers, the donation to the hospital is particularly appropriate.”
Southern Gas Network showed its appreciation for the NHS workers affected.
A statement on its website said: “Many of those affected have been front-line NHS staff and students.
“At this time of national emergency, when our NHS professionals are under extreme pressure, we would like to apologise to them in particular for the extra burden they’ve suffered while being without gas.”
As a result of Dr Allin-Khan’s intervention, SGN offered affected residents a heater and a hot plate, organised free showers at Tooting Leisure Centre, provided free laundry at a launderette and offered hotel accommodation to those who were without gas for more than 10 days.
Since March 19 gas has been available to all of the affected properties.
Dr Allin-Khan said: “Everyone should now have had their gas supply fully restored, but if they are still experiencing problems then please do get in touch with my office and we’ll respond accordingly.”
The disruption was due to water and sludge entering SGN’s pipe network.
Engineers worked around the clock at multiple locations to clear the pipelines, providing frequent progress updates on their website, and SGN set up a customer centre to provide support and advice.
A total of 105,000 litres of water was removed from the gas pipes.
SGN said affected properties will receive £30 compensation for each day they had no gas, which will automatically appear as a credit on their next bill. This can take four to five weeks to be processed.
The gas network have also agreed to pay an additional day of statutory compensation for all those affected.
They said: “We’d like to say a massive thank you to all Tooting residents who have been affected by the water which flooded our network. We apologise again for the disruption that’s been caused.”
Featured image shows SGN customer centre volunteers, who supported customers in vulnerable circumstances with the British Red Cross. Credit: Southern Gas Network.