Gas company promise new system to avoid repeat of supply outages in Huntly and Keith
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A BACK up system is to be installed to prevent a repeat of incidents which resulted in major gas outages in Huntly and Keith.
People in both towns woke last Friday morning to discover that they were once again without gas - just four weeks after a similar 30 hour episode.
SGN have pledged a full and thorough investigation of the root cause will take place.
A spokesman told The Huntly Express this week: "The safety equipment which activated causing loss of supplies has been overhauled and is fully recommissioned.
"We will continue to monitor performance on site and carry out additional tests until we are fully satisfied there will be no further risk to local gas supplies.
"When our full investigation is concluded we will implement any outcomes as a matter of priority.
"It is our intention to install a back-up installation and preliminary works are under way."
It is understood that the outage was caused when a safety mechanism which takes high pressure gas down to a lower pressure was triggered.
Investigations into the first incident on February 2 were still ongoing at the time.
Around 5000 customers, including hospitals and care homes were left without gas overnight when temperatures dropped to minus five.
Engineers from across Scotland were drafted in and in an operation fine tuned in the earlier incident, heaters and hobs were distributed.
But one Huntly householder affected Adrian Reeves, (65) who lives in Park Street North believes communication was poorer and says the reliance on social media to inform people misses the most vulnerable.
Mr Reeves said: "We had no letter drop this time and no help although there were a lot of vans. My worry is for the elderly who are not on social media who would have had no idea what was going on. If someone had gone to their door, they might have been reluctant to open it or not got there in time.
"There has been a reluctance to tell us what the problem is. SGN have said they will pay double the compensation but people need re-assurance that we are not going to go through this again."
Aberdeenshire Councillor Gwyneth Petrie has contacted SGN for an assurance that the fault is fixed.
She said: "The impact is significant, both for those living in the area, and the agencies who step in to help. We need a strong assurance that SGN will do all they can to stop another incident.
"I am glad to hear that they have increased the compensation to show their understanding of the considerable impact on those affected."
Tony Gill, chairman of Huntly Community Council said it was a concern to have a second disruption to supply so soon after the first.
He said: "The goodwill gesture of doubling the compensation I’m sure will be welcomed by those affected in helping to cope with the disruption and distress caused."
The spokesman added: "Compensation levels are agreed with the energy regulator Ofgem. Normally each household receives £30 in compensation for each complete 24-hour period with no gas. However, as a gesture of goodwill, we’ll pay an additional £30."
Payment is made automatically through an individual's gas supplier and appears as a credit on the next bill but could take up to three months to be processed.