Most of the gas used in the UK’s homes, businesses and other premises is transported by gas distribution networks (GDNs), which operate on a regional basis.
In some cases, however, the gas is moved by independent gas transporters (IGTs), which are either directly connected to a GDN or linked to one via another IGT.
The gas transported by the IGTs is exactly the same as that moving within the GDNs.
Any property could be served by an IGT, but the network tends to cover new housing and commercial developments. Around one million properties are served by IGTs.
There are eight IGTs, which develop, run and maintain local gas distribution operations under the regulatory oversight of Ofgem (some of these have more than one licence):
- GTC Pipelines
- Last Mile Gas
- ES Pipelines
- Murphy Gas Networks
- Indigo Pipelines
- Independent Pipelines
- Energy Assets Pipelines Limited
Ofgem regulates the how much IGTs can charge their customers – the energy companies that you pay for your gas and electricity – through a mechanism called ‘relative price control’.
Under this arrangement, charges are capped at a similar level to those applying to the main distribution network.
This means you shouldn’t notice a difference in the price you pay, whether you are in an IGT location or otherwise.
Are you on an IGT network?
The gas distribution network was previously a nationalised service, but it was opened up to competition in 1995. This meant independent companies could pitch for the job of installing a gas connection to a new housing estate, business or retail park.
If your home or business premises was built after 1995, it is possible that you are served by an IGT.
If you are interested to know whether or not your gas is delivered by an IGT, you can look at the meter point reference number (MPRN) on your gas bill or on the meter itself.
If your MPRN is six to 10 digits long and begins with 74, 75, 76 or 77, it means you are supplied by an IGT. Another way to find out is to ask the Meter Point Administration Service on 0870 608 1524.
Remember, however, that being with an IGT should not make any difference to the size of your energy bill, the nature or quality of the gas you receive, or the safety of the service.
If I’m with an IGT, can I still switch?
Yes, absolutely. Whether you are with an IGT or otherwise, it makes no difference to your ability to switch. You’ll continue to get the same gas through the same pipes, with just a different energy firm’s name on your bill.
It’s the energy firm that pays for gas distribution costs, either to the regional distribution network or an IGT. That charge works its way onto your bill, and you have no direct relationship with the organisation transporting the gas to your premises.
There are four gas distribution networks:
- Cadent Gas covers the Midlands, and north-west and east England (including north London)
- Northern Gas Networks covers north-east England, Yorkshire and northern Cumbria
- Wales & West Utilities covers Wales and south-west England
- SGN covers Scotland and southern England
You can compare electricity and gas prices online using MoneySupermarket’s energy channel.
Switching energy suppliers is straightforward, and when you find a deal you want to move to, you can arrange the switch online.
Switch and save with Energy Monitor
Switching your energy supplier is quicker and easier with MoneySuperMarket’s Energy Monitor. We’ll let you know as soon as there’s a cheaper tariff available for you, so you can effortlessly switch and save money on your energy bill.