Most of the pipelines that transport gas to homes in the UK are owned and managed by National Grid. However, many newer homes are connected via gas pipelines that have been installed by independent gas transporters, also known as IGTs.
What Do IGTs Do?
Independent gas transporters own and operate gas distribution networks. This role involves repairing pipes and ensuring that all customers receive a reliable supply of gas. The work that these independent customers carry out is exactly the same as that performed by National Grid, which owns the vast majority of pipe networks in the UK, and the gas that is supplied to your property is no different either.
How are Gas Prices Affected?
Unfortunately, people who have their gas supplied through pipes that are owned by independent transporters often have to pay more than people whose properties are supplied by National Grid pipes.
Independent gas transporters do not charge customers directly. However, the energy companies who manage customers gas supplies have to pay a fee for the use of the gas pipe network.
Some energy companies absorb this cost and do not charge their customers any extra. For example, customers on British Gas and SSE tariffs pay exactly the same regardless of who owns the pipes that supply their properties. However, some energy companies, particularly most of the smaller suppliers, do pass the charge on to their customers.
How Can I Tell Who Owns the Pipes that Supply Gas to my Property?
Was the property that you live in built before 1995? If so, then you are almost certainly supplied by pipes owned by National Grid, as the gas supply market was only opened up to private companies in 1995. Modern housing developments are often supplied by IGTs, as these independent companies offer attractive deals to developers to connect up the newly built properties.
Take a look at your gas meter to find out who owns the pipes under your property. Meter numbers beginning 74 and 75 are used for properties that are supplied by independent transporters. This number is printed on your meter, and it may also appear on your gas bill. If you are having trouble finding this number, you can call the Meter Point Administration Service on 0870 608 1524 for help.
Your gas bill is also a good place to look for information. Look for the letters IGT somewhere on your bill, which would indicate that you are on a special tariff for people supplied in this way.
How Can I Find a Good IGT Tariff?
Finding a good deal for your electricity and gas supplies can be tough if you are supplied by an IGT. Comparison websites cannot tell who owns the pipes that supply your property, so the prices that they quote you may not be accurate reflections of the amount you would actually be charged.
Comparison sites are still a good place to start when looking for good deals on energy, but you should double-check the quotes by contacting the individual suppliers.
Some suppliers do not charge premiums to IGT customers. British Gas, Scottish Power, and Scottish and Southern Energy do not apply any extra fees to customers, regardless of who owns the pipes that supply their gas. EDF levies a charge on gas-only customers, but waives it for those who sign up to its dual fuel tariff.
On the other hand, NPower and E.ON do pass on charges to customers, as do many smaller suppliers, such as Ovo and First Utility. The charge is usually between Â£40 and Â£70 per year, depending on how much gas you use. You might therefore want to consider a British Gas, Scottish Power or SSE tariff, or a dual fuel EDF tariff, if you are living in a property that is supplied by an independent gas transporter.
Key Points to Remember
In summary, you might be supplied buy an independent gas transporter if you live in a property built after 1995. You can find out by looking at your meter number; numbers beginning with 74 or 75 indicate that the pipes are owned by an IGT. Comparison sites do not always accurate quotes for IGT-supplied households, so always contact the energy provider directly.
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