Cadent gas pipe damaged in my property
We recently purchased a property(for my self) ,where we found hedges were almost dead. We chopped them from near their roots and then by using digger, we tried to dig the stumps (there were atleast 20 stumps, rotten but deep. While digging using digger , the gas pipe got broke. this gas pipe was neighbor's pipe, which was in our boundaries. we called the gas company, they repaired the pipe and after few weeks (2 months ago from now) sent us a hefty bill of £565, from which £2 or something for 30 cm pipe and rest for the labor. they didn't need to dig as digging was already been done at my property while digging. I don't have a bill handy but approx 30 min they worked.
I disputed the bill by sending email asking for three questions.
My questions are
(1) There was no security warning tape that there is gas supply.
(2) The digging was done where there was existing hedges/fence , which ment be to dug over the time when new fence require. we are replacing exisitng hedges with new fence/wall. The gas pies under the boundaries. so I can't understand why its been laid at the boundaries where digging almost certain to happen, either when new fence/post require.
(3)we came to know that gas pipe which was broken was in our boundaries are for next door neighbor. so Can you please provide you have written permission to lay the neighbours pipe at my property as we were going to brick weave our drive and as you have laid gas pipe on our grounds, we can't dig deep enough to put hard core down for the drive.
In response to this,they email me which didn't correspond to my questions. so i email them back saying , here are questions again as your response doesn't relate to the questions i asked.
Second time they respond which is still not corresponding 100 % but this time they are stating bill is due.
Their response were
Please note that we have contacted our network supervisor who has confirmed that “ (1). the method used to lay gas service pipes does not necessarily lay at a constant depth. The technique is called moling, and changes in ground density and the presence of solid materials under ground causes pipes to change depth and direction. As this technique is non-intrusive it makes it impossible to lay warning tape / sand above the pipe. (2). Contractor doing home improvements pulled PE service with mini digger whilst removing tree stump. (3). The damaged pipe was for next doors property damaged By builder pulling out tree with digger he told me to put occupier as billing address”.
Please be informed that there is no statutory requirement for a minimum depth when gas services are being laid, the depths are only a guide and pipes can be found at shallower depth. Cadent Gas or its agents would originally lay gas pipe work at a recommended depth where ever possible, however surface levels can alter and it should be anticipated that the underground plant may be encountered during any groundwork. Therefore, Cadent Gas does not consider the depth is an issue with regards to liability.
We do accept that our gas pipes are not intentionally damaged, but the fact remains that prior to the commencement of your works our plant was undamaged.
In light of the above this matter will now be transferred to our Cash Collection department to continue pursuit of payment.
Any advice for me. should i pay for the bill or wait for them to take me to court ?
I personally fill that let the court decide what is right or wrong. what's say?
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