Gas heating industry invited to comment on low pressure

The Institution of Gas Engineers & Managers (IGEM) is seeking industry comment on a number of recommendations designed to address the root cause of low supply issues on the gas distribution network. Following a series of cross-industry meetings, IGEM’s Low Pressure Supply Working Group has concluded that low pressure is not a widespread issue and that the design of the UK distribution network remains fit for use with the majority of gas appliances currently on the market.

“However, over recent years there has been a progressive increase in the capacity of domestic boilers,” says Ian McCluskey, IGEM’s Head of Technical Services & Policy. “The major reason for this is the increase in the average net heat input of domestic boilers being supplied, largely driven by the requirement for instant hot water for showers and baths.

“As a result of the discussions, the group concluded that procedures put in place to deal with incidents of low pressure can vary dramatically across the industry. This can sometimes mean the customer is unable to use certain appliances once they are installed.”

The group also concluded there is a need for greater cooperation across the industry to improve communication and to increase the level of understanding of all aspects of the gas system across the board.

“In particular, the group has identified a need for clarification on the pressure requirements for the low pressure supply system and for processes and procedures to be agreed across the industry,” says McCluskey. “It is hoped this will enable the various industry standards and guidance to become consistent in their requirements and will mean manufacturers’ instructions match those requirements.”

The working group has developed a set of proposals to address the concerns of the industry, which cover limits on the normal kW capacity of a domestic gas supply service, harmonise procedures for installing appliances, conditions for reporting low pressure supply, how emergency service providers should respond and downstream testing methods for low pressure.

The Low Pressure Supply Working Group is made up of representatives from British Gas, Cadent, DNV GL, Energy Assets, Global Energy, Heating and Hot Water Industry Council (HHIC), HomeServe, Health & Safety Executive, National Grid, Ofgem, SGN, Tuffentech and Wales & West Utilities.

Those working in the gas industry are invited to supply comments by 26 August to technical@igem.org.uk or send them for the attention of Peter Hurst, IGEM Technical Officer, IGEM House, 26 & 28 High Street, Kegworth, Derbyshire DE74 2DA.

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