Independent Gas Transporters: The Fastest Growing Sector of the British Gas Market

While they serve just 10 percent of households, Independent Gas Transporters (IGTs), are the fastest growing sector of the United Kingdom’s gas delivery market. If your house was built within the last 20 years, you may be receiving natural gas via an Independent Gas Transporter (IGT). After the breakup of British Gas in 1986, natural gas distribution and delivery were split into two separate entities, British Gas and the National Grid (also known as Transco). Over time, a number of Independent Gas Transporters emerged, supplying natural gas on a regional basis to commercial customers via their own networks and eventually to residential customers.

In an effort to expand their networks, many Independent Gas Transporters offered financial incentives to developers and builders who agreed to connect to their networks. While this arrangement suited builders, the cost of developing networks was passed on to natural gas suppliers in the form of a 10 pence per thermal unit surcharge for the first 20 years of service. While many supplier initially passed these costs on consumers via quarterly charges, many of the larger energy companies now absorb these costs as a part of doing business. Smaller discount gas suppliers, however, often refuse to work with IGTs or add surcharges to cover their costs.

While most residents of the United Kingdom receive their natural gas through the National Grid, the number of residents served by Independent Gas Transporters has increased to over a million with the highest percentage located in Scotland. Interestingly, some Independent Gas Transporters are owned by the largest energy companies in the country.  While the 6 largest energy companies are known as the “Big 6,” the following 7 Independent Gas Transporters are beginning to have an impact on natural gas prices in the United Kingdom.

                                                                                                                 

GTC Pipelines Ltd. Founded in 1995, GTC operates a nationwide network with over 1.2 million utility connections including gas, electric, water, and fiber. Originally, GTC provided LNG services to people who lived outside the natural gas service area. In 1998, GTC Pipelines became the first Independent Gas Transporter to serve a complete village.

Independent Pipelines Ltd. Based in Cardiff, Independent Pipelines has more than 500,000 customers across Great Britain. Independent Pipelines is actually a sub-brand of utility giant Inexus. In addition to gas services, Inexus companies provide water and electricity services throughout the United Kingdom. The group is listed as one of the 100 most profitable private equity held companies in the country.

E. S. Pipelines Ltd. Specializing in hard to reach areas in urban environments and rural areas located far from gas distribution points, ES Pipelines provides services to consumers not served by major networks. The company was founded in January of 2000, focusing exclusively on natural gas but has since expanded into electricity.

SSE Pipelines Ltd. With more than 10 million customers, SSE plc (SSE Pipelines’ parent company) provides electricity, gas, and other home services to homes and businesses across the country. They are the UK’s second largest contracting business and have the country’s largest onshore gas storage facility. SSE plc is based in Perth, Scotland and is one of the UK’s “Big 6” energy companies.

Energetics Gas Ltd. A late comer to the industry, Energetics Gas was founded in 2006 and is based in Glasgow. Focusing solely on natural gas, Energitics provides services to homes and businesses.

British Gas Pipelines Ltd. With millions of residential and business customers, British Gas Pipelines’ parent company, British Gas, is one of the largest energy providers in the Britain. It services nearly half of all residential customers in the UK as well as a million businesses. British Gas is part of international conglomerate Centrica plc.

Fulcrum Pipelines Ltd. With an extensive history of designing, planning, and delivering gas connections as part of the Gas Board, Transco, and the National Grid, Fulcrum Pipelines offers complete connection services across all customer basis, from small residential to commercial. Fulcrum Pipelines’ parent company also provides heavy fuel conversion services, meters, electricity connections, and outlet pipework.

Independent Gas Transporters only supply a small fraction of the homes in the United Kingdom but their influence is being felt widely in new home construction. While Transco has traditionally controlled the largest share of the market, the flexibility and cost advantages of IGTs have made them the choice of developers and builders.

Sam Jones is a keen observer of the energy markets. He suggests that people looking for an independent gas transporter visit uSwitch the leading price comparison website and read the advice section

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