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Gas Transportation Charging Review Group

Minutes of the Meeting held on 9 October 2003

Present:

Mr S Wing, Chair, HSE

Industry members

Mr P Clark, AIPGT
Mr C Musgrave, Transco

HSE members

Mr B Tomkins, PEFD
Mr T Small, HID
Ms L Stanley, PEFD
Mr K McFadyen, HID, Secretary

Welcome and introductions

Mr Wing introduced himself as the new Chair. Following a reorganisation within HID he had succeeded Dr Johnson as responsible for the Gas and Pipelines Unit.

Minutes of the meeting held on 8 October 2002

The minutes had been circulated to members for comment prior to publication on HSE's website and were formally agreed.

Matters arising

The actions on HSE at minutes 3 and 7 had been discharged.

Industry Guide

Dr Johnson had written to Transco on 2 October 2003 regarding the revision of the guide. Copies were distributed to members present. The intentions expressed in the letter were to bring the guide in line with the provisions of the Fees Regulations that allowed HSE to charge for certain functions under the Gas Safety (Management) Regulations 1996 and enforcement of the relevant statutory provisions relating to protecting persons from the risks arising from the way that gas is conveyed or used in a network. The effect of this would be that HSE would charge for a wider range of activities than hitherto, but not until the published guide had been updated. This would mainly impact upon Transco, although there was a potential impact on the independent companies.

Industry felt that the current guidance was in line with the original policy intent to recover the costs of permissioning regimes and that this move would extend the area of uncertainty regarding relevant statutory provisions. The revised guidance needed to be clear and it was agreed that the draft amendment would be sent to industry members to comment on the clarity.
Action: HSE

Industry asked whether HSE could provide any data on the impact of the change. The Chair agreed to try and see how many hours could have been chargeable in 2002/03.
Action: HSE (Secreatary's note: Information sent to Industry on 29 October.)

Charging Efficiency Project

Members were presented with a brief update on the recommendations from this project (OCRG 2003/5). Dr Fullam had made a presentation on his report to industry in May. There were a large number of recommendations, some of which could have a significant impact on costs and others that would have little effect. Prior to receiving this report a wider change process had started in HSE. The CEP recommendations impinged on efficiency across HSE, not only the charging regimes, and fitted in with the change process. Therefore it was decided that the CEP recommendations should be taken forward as part of this overall change process. There will be no immediate impact on costs. The earliest that this could be predicted was sometime next year. It also had to be recognised that some recommendations would have significant start up costs that may feed into charge out rates before benefits start to be realised. Some pilots of different ways of working had already started with others to start next year.

The Chair of the COMAH Charging Review Group had been closely involved with the implementation of the wider HSE Corporate Support Review and had agreed to update that group on progress in about 6 months time. HSE agreed to make that update available to this and other CRGs.
Action: HSE

Proposed charge out rates for 2004/05

The 2002/03 trading account showed that the hourly rate out turned at £109 against the £110 charged. The rate for 2004/05 had not been agreed yet, but it was highly unlikely that it would increase. Members would be informed of the rate to be proposed to Ministers as soon as possible, with confirmation following Ministerial agreement.
Action: HSE

Report to the ICRG

An outline of the report had been circulated to members. To this it was agreed to add industry's concerns regarding the changes/extension to charging, particularly the legislation in relation to the original intention of charging. Industry's appreciation that the efficiency project was being taken forward should also be recorded. A revised draft of the ICRG report would be sent to members for comment.
Action: HSE (Secretary's note - circulated on 29 October 2003)

The question of the continuing need for the ICRG was raised. The ICRG was set up to deal with common issues across four charging regimes. These have settled down and common issues are now rare. Industry raised no objection to the suggestion that the ICRG be wound up.

Date of next meeting

It was agreed that the next meeting be held in Bootle after the CCRG meeting in order to reduce travel time and costs for HSE attendees at both meetings. The next meeting was provisionally set for 13 October 2005.


Updated 2008-12-05