Gas Supplies and IGTs in the UK

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    Jan 18, 2014
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Most residential and gas supplies in the United Kingdom are supplied by pipelines which are owned and operated by the National Grid. However, there are also a number of smaller, independent suppliers. These are known as independent gas transporters (IGTs), and they supply about four percent of all of the gas supplies in the country. This is equal to around 1,000,000 consumers. If your home is supplied by an IGT, then you may be paying a slightly higher fee. This is because the gas supplier itself has to pay both the National Grid and the IGT to deliver the gas. The IGT connects your home to the National Grid, making it possible for homes in areas which are not covered by the main system to have a gas supply.

IGTs are most commonly found on new housing estates. For the building companies responsible for constructing the housing estate, it is usually cheaper to get connected to the National Grid by way of an IGT rather than having the National Grid itself expand its coverage. Unfortunately, this tends to work out significantly more expensive for the consumer. There are currently six IGTs in the United Kingdom. These are SSE Pipelines, Energetics, ES Pipelines, Fulcrum Pipelines, GTC Pipelines and Independent Pipelines.

Just because your home is connected to an IGT does not necessarily mean that you will be paying a higher rate on your gas supply. It is becoming increasingly common for the energy companies themselves to balance out the cost by offering equal prices to all customers in a given area, whether they are on an IGT or connected directly to the National Grid. The UK's independent energy company regulator, Ofgem, is also responsible for regulating how much an IGT can charge its customers. However, you will not be paying the IGT themselves for any additional fees. These extra costs are paid by your gas supplier and accounted for in higher energy bills.

If you are connected to an IGT, you will also find that the price comparison sites generally don't take this into account when you are comparing gas tariffs. If you are not sure whether or not you are being supplied by an IGT, you can find out from any gas bill. On your gas bill, there will be a Meter Point Reference Number (MPRN). This is ten digits long. If the number begins with either 74, 75, 76 or 77, then you are indeed being supplied by an IGT. If you are on an IGT and are using price comparison services to find a better deal, then you should be sure to find out how much more, if any, you will have to pay should you switch to a new supplier.

For those on IGTs, there are no practical options to get connected directly to the national gas distribution network. This would usually be prohibitively expensive, complicated and impractical. However, you may still find that you can avoid paying the extra charges by switching to a gas supplier which does not increase their rates for customers on an IGT. While these additional charges are rapidly becoming less common, there are companies which do still charge you. For example, npower charges around £10 per year for those on an IGT, while E.ON may charge up to £42 per year, depending on the particular tariff. Additionally, there are a number of smaller gas suppliers which do not take on customers who are connected via an IGT. Some companies which currently still don't accept such customers are Zog Energy, Good Energy and Spark Energy. On the other hand, all of the Big Six energy suppliers do provide their services to those connected to an IGT.

Another way to avoid paying extra if you are served by an IGT is to choose a different tariff, even if from the same company. For example, EDF Energy does not charge any extra annual fee for dual fuel customers, but those who only have a gas tariff with the company will have to pay a little extra. In some cases, the additional fee can be as high as £70 per year, though this varies depending on the company.

Author's Profile

Sam Jones the author of this article found the advice pages very helpful at Uswitch when looking for more info on igt uk.

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