Transco is looking to save money by making more efficient use of the smell it adds to gas in the national transmission system to help detect leaks.
Use of too much odorant is causing widespread reporting of leaks and difficulty in detecting them as the odour is powerful over a large area.
`The cost to the business is a lot of people charging around trying to find a leak because the smell of gas is too strong,’ said a spokesman.
Transco is studying the feasibility of using statistical and network modelling techniques to optimise its use of the odorant, a mixture of organic sulphides and mercaptans.
The move is part of the company’s drive to cut costs in the face of the new price controls it has been set over the next five years by the regulator, which the Monopolies and Mergers Commission supported.
Transco denies wanting to cut the number of reported leaks and call-outs so it can lay off technicians.
To meet the MMC requirements, the company announced it would have to make 2,500 of its 16,100 workers redundant.