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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 9683
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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I have a dispute with British Gas over a gas leak at my home

Resolved Question:

I have a dispute with British Gas over a gas leak at my home
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.

How can I help with this please?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The gas leak took place at my home on 08/04/2016 after an engineer visited my home in order to fit smart energy meters. I complained to British Gas and, subsequently, Centrica who passed the matter onto KLA, their Loss Adjusters who rejected my claim on the basis that there was no actual explosion and that methane is not toxic.
Below is my initial letter of complaint to British Gas
An engineer attended my address this morning (12:10pm /08/04/2016) in order to fit new gas and electricity meters. He checked the boiler, gas fire and gas cooker prior to installation and advised me that the cooker was unsafe due to the front right hob not shutting off when the glass cover was lowered. I explained that this was not a major issue as the cooker was never in use unsupervised but he insisted it had to be capped and disconnected. This was done after the new meters had been installed at about 1:30pm. After a couple of hours my two dogs became uncharacteristically drowsy and I developed a headache. My 16 year-old-daughter also complained of a headache and feeling sick. Upon investigation, I noticed that when opening the kitchen door, there was a very strong smell of gas. I ventilated the kitchen but the smell persisted so I called the emergency number and was advised to isolate the gas supply. A National Grid engineer (***** *****) attended in under an hour. He checked the disconnected cooker valve and told me it had not been properly sealed resulting in a gas leak. He also said that the British Gas engineer should have checked the system pressure and seal before leaving. The National Grid job number is(###) ###-####and a report is available supporting my complaint.
The effects of this poor workmanship and haste to condemn my perfectly functioning cooker could have been catastrophic, resulting in explosion and, potentially, death.
I do not think this is even remotely acceptable from a registered British Gas engineer or the company as a whole. I am now left without a cooker due to overzealous safety measures that, paradoxically, could have ended up killing me and my family!
I think some significant compensation is in order, that being the cost of a new cooker at £400 and an additional £100 for inconvenience and distress caused. The potential (and actual) damage to my family's health and lives is beyond calculation and I will not hesitate in taking robust legal action against you should there be no satisfactory resolution to my complaint in the terms I describe. I will also report this matter to the Health and Safety Executive as, such was the level of incompetence, it endangered life. You can also anticipate significant adverse publicity.
I trust you will see fit to deal with my complaint promptly and therefore I give you notice of seven days to respond satisfactorily, in writing, to the address given below and via this portal.
The engineer who attended my property was Adam Crosby ID number 195355.
Service order number:(###) ###-####
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
A subsequent letter to KLA
May 20, 2016Your ref: DP/JN/jw/50-88444Dear Mr Nickolls,
Further to your letter of May 17 regarding my complaint with British Gas.
The National Grid engineer did indeed repair the gas leak at the supply pipe and left it secure but not connected to any appliance. This was then re-commissioned by the engineer who fitted the new cooker several days later and I have attached a copy of the receipt of purchase.
Of course, I am seeking damages for every member of my household affected by the gas leak and placed in danger of loss of life (that being £1,500 for each person) and £400 for the new cooker so a total of £4,900.
I look forward to hearing from you promptly with regard to this matter.Yours Sincerely***** *****
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
My argument is that there was negligence that created a risk to life, that National Grid had to attend to repair the gas leak caused by British Gas that created that risk and that methane is an asphixiate that caused harm.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Are you still there?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Could you please confirm you are reviewing this?
Expert:  F E Smith replied 1 year ago.

If you are thinking of a personal injury claim, there is no claim for nearly being killed or could have been killed. There is only a claim if you suffer injury.

You would need a toxicology report confirming the effects of the gas on you and its long-term effects.

Research suggests that gas itself is not toxic as such and what people die of is carbon monoxide poisoning (which is something different altogether, a byproduct of combustion) or asphyxiation from breathing the gas.

You could try approaching no win no fee solicitors but I suspect that you would struggle to find want to take this on for you.

Regarding the cooker, this was dangerous and although you make the point that it was never used without supervision, it was in itself an inherent danger and hence, the gas fitter was correct with his actions.

I’m sorry, I know it’s not a favourable answer but that is the situation.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Please don’t forget to rate the service positive. It’s an important part of the process by which experts get paid.

Best wishes.

FES.

F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 9683
Experience: I have been practising for 30 years.
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