Passing of the torch: New head of gas operations for London

James Harrison takes over National Grid Gas Distribution's fast paced London patch

06 Apr 2017


▪       James Harrison takes over as National Grid Gas Distribution’s Head of Operations for London

▪       Predecessor Phil Clarke retires after seven years in the post and four decades in the gas industry

▪       National Grid Gas Distribution network includes world famous locations and supplies over two million customers in the capital


There has been a changing of the guard at the top of National Grid Gas Distribution’s fast paced London Gas Distribution network.


James Harrison, who was previously Head of Operations in National Grid Gas Distribution’s East Area, takes over the London network from predecessor Phil Clarke this week.


His new job involves managing Emergency Response and Repair Operations dealing with reports of gas escapes across National Grid’s London Gas Distribution network. It’s no small task as the network supplies over two million people and includes world famous locations such as Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament and Canary Wharf.


Chartered Engineer James, 39, who holds a degree in Civil Engineering, has worked for National Grid for 18 years.


His previous experience in National Grid Gas Distribution has included working as a supervisor, business analyst, pipelines manager, maintenance network manager. Most recently he has been Head of Operations Emergency Response and Repair, for National Grid Gas Distribution’s East of England of patch, which includes East Anglia and the East Midlands.


He said: “I’m honoured to be working with a strong team to ensure Londoners keep on enjoying safe and reliable gas supplies.


“National Grid Gas Distribution performs a vital role in helping London maintain its status as a leading 21st century city and I’m delighted to be playing a part in that.”


In between managing his busy workload, James serves as Chairman of the Pipeline Industries Guild, where his duties have included hosting Princess Anne at the Guild’s recent 60th Anniversary Dinner.


Married with three children James’ interests outside work include cycling, rock climbing and spending time with his family.


Chartered Engineer Phil Clarke has worked in the gas industry since 1982 and he has been the Head of Operations in London since 2010.


Looking back over his time heading up London Operations Mr Clarke said: “It’s been a real honour to be responsible for ensuring a safe, reliable gas supply for Londoners over the last seven years.”


“I’ve had a fantastic team of people around me and it’s been great to see us develop new keyhole technology to help ensure our repairs are delivered with less disruption for the public.”


Phil regards the biggest success of his tenure as developing and implementing a strategic plan for London Gas Emergency Operations and Response during the 2012 Olympic Games.


He said: “It was great to play a part in helping make sure we were ready for one of the biggest events London has ever seen.”


“Fortunately it all went very smoothly but we had to be prepared for every eventuality.”


Phil has also held a wide range of other senior management positions including managing gas terminals and the national gas transmission system.


He now intends to explore opportunities outside National Grid that can use his extensive knowledge and practical operational experience.



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Notes for editors

Notes to Editors:

National Grid is one of the largest investor-owned energy companies in the world and was named Responsible Business of the Year 2014 by Business in the Community. This accolade acknowledges all of our efforts in getting involve with the things that really matter to us and to society. We own and manage the grids that connect people to the energy they need, from whatever the source.  In Britain and the north-eastern states of the US we run systems that deliver gas and electricity to millions of people, businesses and communities.

In Britain, we run the gas and electricity systems that our society is built on, delivering gas and electricity across the country.  In the North Eastern US, we connect more than seven million gas and electric customers to vital energy sources, essential for our modern lifestyles.

National Grid in the UK:

  • We own the high-voltage electricity transmission network in England and Wales, operating it across Great Britain
  • We own and operate the high pressure gas transmission system in Britain
  • We also own a number of related businesses including LNG importation, land remediation and metering
  • Our portfolio of other businesses is mainly concerned with infrastructure provision and related services where we can exploit our core skills and assets to create value. These businesses operate in areas such as Metering, Grain LNG Import, Interconnectors and Property. National Grid Carbon Ltd is a wholly owned subsidiary of National Grid. It undertakes Carbon Capture Storage related activities on behalf of National Grid.

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