Independent Gas Transporters
The bulk of Britain's gas supplies are transported around the country by the National Grid. But in some instances, the job is done by an independent gas transportation (IGT) firm, of which there are six:
- GTC Pipelines
- Independent pipelines
- ES Pipelines
- Fulcrum Pipelines
- SSE Pipelines
There is no difference to the type or quality of gas involved - it's all the same stuff - but if you're in a property that's serviced by an IGT you might have to pay extra.
Am I served by an independent gas transporter?
An IGT is more likely to operate the gas distribution system if you live in a newer home that was built after 1995 when the market was opened up to competition. For example, IGTs frequently supply gas to modern housing developments because they offer competitive rates to house builders and developers to install a gas connection.
About one million customers are currently served by an IGT.
To make absolutely sure whether or not your gas is delivered by an IGT, you can look at the Meter Point Reference Number (MPRN) on your gas bill. If the MPRN is 10 digits long and begins with 74, 75, 76 or 77 then you are supplied by an Independent Gas Transporter. Or you can call the Meter Point Administration Service on 0870 608 1524.
Will my gas cost more?
There is nothing wrong with IGTs: to transport gas a firm must hold a licence and satisfy strict safety requirements. But they can work out more expensive for you the customer. Why? Because your utility firm must pay both the National Grid and the IGT for the gas supply.
You should bear the charges in mind if you are comparing energy prices. Comparison websites cannot detect whether your address is served by an IGT, so the deals that come up on the screen will not include any extra costs.
But it's still worth checking out the cheapest energy tariffs as you could save about £200 on your annual bill by switching to a better deal.
*51% consumers, MoneySuperMarket data, December 2014