In this time of national uncertainty, it is vital to keep the lights on and gas flowing. National Grid Metering (NGM) continues to maintain and manage nine million gas assets across the UK, ensuring they remain safe, reliable and efficient.
Keeping the assets functional, requires both NGM and its service partners to work closely together. Making sure engineers are safe whilst out in the field but also the end consumer. Teams throughout National Grid Metering are working through contingency plans to ensure they can still serve communities and businesses, while adhering to guidelines issued by the government.
We have recently been involved in checking the installations at both the ExCel Centre and NEC. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, these sites amongst others have been transformed into facilities to help the burden on the National Health Service (NHS).
NGM teamed up with Service Partner Cadent to complete a functional check at London’s ExCel centre, the asset had been involved in a rebuild of regulators last year and the check was to ensure the asset was performing correctly to match the load needed by the change of use at ExCel. The site has now been opened and known as the ’Nightingale Hospital’.
NGM and service partner Network Plus also completed a functional check on the asset at the NEC site in Birmingham, as the site will be transformed into another temporary hospital to cope with the immense pressure arising from the Coronavirus.
As a business, National Grid Metering pro-actively wants to assure its customers that, with a potential increase in demand, their assets will remain efficient, functional and safe across all sites in the UK. So, how do NGM’s engineers still attend site safely during the crisis?
Ryan Edwards, Senior Integrity Engineer, National Grid Metering commented: "I have limited site visits to an absolute minimum, taking into several factors before deeming it safe to attend. Checking how many people will be onsite, reducing the possible interaction by visiting when limited people are at the site. Picking sites (when possible) away from end consumers, the public and prioritising site visits based on the criticality and importance of security of supply."
It's important NGM continue to maintain gas assets during this crisis, to ensure the UK continues to function. Tasks need to complete on an ad-hoc and flexible basis, depending on site conditions, demands and adherence to government guidelines; including food suppliers, hospitals, care homes and even hand sanitiser manufacturers to name but a few.
Ryan continues: "To ensure I have been keeping myself and others safe, I have been carrying out risk assessment prior to site visits. For example, a recent trip to Tata Steel in Llanwern required no interaction on site, as previously carried out a full site induction and acquired a 3rd party ID card which allows access to site using a contactless entry card system.
"Furthermore, I make sure I carry the correct PPE including face masks and disposable gloves, hand santiser and wipes, which are used regularly. One method I have just started, is to dispose of used wipes and gloves in nappy sacks—I have a two-year-old son—so have plenty at home!"