£618 bill for cutting through main yellow gas pipe

I was on a digger digging in my garden and cut through the main gas pipe. I didn't know the pipe was there. I live on a hill so I thought it was under the ground.  I called Southern Electric who sent out a man to investigate damage, then a team of 2 men came and repaired the pipe. They re-joined the pipe together (which took 2 minutes, they were with me for 30 minutes). I have now received an invoice for £618.32 The pipe and connectors were £3, the rest was labour. I do not have £618.32. They have called me to chase up payment today. What can I do?  
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Comments

  • FreeBear
    FreeBear Posts: 14,612 Forumite
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    Pay it.
    £618 is quite cheap - It could have been much higher.

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  • Ectophile
    Ectophile Posts: 7,328 Forumite
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    Pay the bill.
    Next time, check where the pipes go, or dig by hand.
    If it sticks, force it.
    If it breaks, well it wasn't working right anyway.
  • A_Lert
    A_Lert Posts: 609 Forumite
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    Wrong board.
    If you have buildings insurance, contact them. It may well cover this.
  • As abve either
    * claim on insurance (and watch your premiums go up as well as having to pay the excess), or
    * pay,or
    * ignore and wait to be taken to court and have costs added
    The bill is not excessive.
  • jefaz07
    jefaz07 Posts: 546 Forumite
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    edited 12 January 2021 at 11:24PM
    You called southern electric? For a gas service damage?
    Anyway, aside from that you’re paying for 3 people, not for just the time on site, but the time it takes to get there from wherever they were. 
    That includes packing up their site, and coming to you for a gas emergency. Then the time to get back and re start their other work. That’s hours!!! 
    There is also the reporting side, they will have needed to squeeze off the service before repair, as soon as this has done it needs reported to Ofgem for GSOS...again, takes time. 
    You’ll also pay for loss of gas, after all, it’s your fault it’s escaped. 
    What kind of fitting did they use? 
    It’s going to be plastic so was it electrofusion? Those fitting are more than £3
    Same if it was Philmac mechanical fitting. A 25mm straight is around £10 
  • Mickey666
    Mickey666 Posts: 2,834 Forumite
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    Utility companies will give you maps for free if you ask them before starting any excavations.  Bit late now of course, but it's the sort of thing you should be thinking about before just digging away because any such damage is always going to be expensive to repair.  TBH £600 for an emergency repair sounds pretty reasonable to me.
    Did you have any digger insurance - might be possible to claim on that, although they might not payout if you didn't consult the utility companies first - due diligence and all that.   Did you not notice the yellow 'Gas Warning' tape that should have been present above the pipe?  Might not have been there, in which case you might be able to argue a reduced price on that basis - a long shot, but nothing to lose.

    I did some digger work last year and knew there was a gas supply nearby.  I was pretty sure I was clear of it but even so I was digging only an inch or two at a time in the trench on the expectation of pulling up the warning tape.  I was concentrating so much on looking for something yellow that I missed the blue water pipe and broke that instead!  Fortunately, it was my side of the meter, so was easy to turn off the water.  The parts to repair were a little over £11.   I never did come across the gas pipe, which would have been a whole different issue - as you now know ;(
  • jefaz07
    jefaz07 Posts: 546 Forumite
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    edited 12 January 2021 at 11:56PM
    Mickey666 said:
    Utility companies will give you maps for free if you ask them before starting any excavations.  Bit late now of course, but it's the sort of thing you should be thinking about before just digging away because any such damage is always going to be expensive to repair.  TBH £600 for an emergency repair sounds pretty reasonable to me.
    Did you have any digger insurance - might be possible to claim on that, although they might not payout if you didn't consult the utility companies first - due diligence and all that.   Did you not notice the yellow 'Gas Warning' tape that should have been present above the pipe?  Might not have been there, in which case you might be able to argue a reduced price on that basis - a long shot, but nothing to lose.

    I did some digger work last year and knew there was a gas supply nearby.  I was pretty sure I was clear of it but even so I was digging only an inch or two at a time in the trench on the expectation of pulling up the warning tape.  I was concentrating so much on looking for something yellow that I missed the blue water pipe and broke that instead!  Fortunately, it was my side of the meter, so was easy to turn off the water.  The parts to repair were a little over £11.   I never did come across the gas pipe, which would have been a whole different issue - as you now know ;(
    Gas services aren’t on maps unless 63mm or 2inch. Normal domestic properties won’t be on there. 
    Neither will any tape. It’s not a requirement on a service so no argument to be had there unfortunately. 
    Have a read of HSG47...will tell you all you need to know. Or most of it anyway. 
  • Mickey666
    Mickey666 Posts: 2,834 Forumite
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    When I dug the trench for the gas pipework on my side of the meter, the installer used a warning tape, hence why I was looking for it on the supply side pipe.  Sounds like I was even luckier not to find it then!
  • teamgb
    teamgb Posts: 118 Forumite
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    Years ago I hit a gas pipe whilst replacing a damaged concrete fence post. The gas company sent me  a repair bill. I refused to pay and demanded that they remove their pipe from my property. They agreed to move the pipe, but waited two years to do it.

  • Thank you. I had a map (only tells you where it comes in the road) but as I'm a corner plot and it runs up the hill, the pipe was higher up then where it started. I just think sending 3 men to fix it was excessive. 
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