IGT gas is delivered to residential, commercial and industrial customers through one of a variety of local gas transportation networks. These networks are operated by companies known as Independent Gas Transporters (IGTs) and are connected to the main Gas Distribution Network (GDN) either directly, through a Connected System Entry Point, or indirectly, through a second IGT. This allows IGTs to tap the main supply and bring gas for heating, cooking, water heating and other uses into the homes and businesses that are part of its network.
If you're wondering whether IGT gas may be a good option for you, the following 10 facts may help:
1. Gas rates set by IGTs are regulated by the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem), an agency which describes itself as "a non-ministerial government department and an independent National Regulatory Authority, recognised by EU Directives". Ofgem cites its principle duty as protecting the interests of consumers, both present and future, and states that its Relative Price Control (RPC) model caps IGT charges to new customers at a level "broadly consistent with the GDN equivalent charge". However, it does go on to clarify that those sites that pre-date RPC, which the agency refers to as "legacy sites", will continue to be charged under the "legacy arrangements" until the IGTs migrate into RPC.
2. Whilst IGT gas rates are regulated, they do tend to be slightly higher than GDN rates. The reason for that is that the monetary savings come in on the front end, when Independent Gas Transporters offer lower costs to builders as an incentive for installing their systems. Once the distribution system is installed, the higher everyday gas prices consumers pay function to close the profit gap.
3. Organisations like Energylinx [www.energylinx.co.uk/], which bills itself as "The UK's No.1 Guide to Utility Prices", are working to reduce the financial impact of the growing number of newly constructed homes and new gas installations that are served by IGTs.
4. According to Energylinx, comparing the costs of gas from various suppliers by requesting price quotes [www.energylinx.co.uk/independent_gas_transporters.htm] can be a bit trickier when IGTs are involved. This is because some lower-priced suppliers are hesitant to provide quotes for properties served by IGTs and many others charge a premium for the privilege of receiving that information.
5. National Grid, PLC [www2.nationalgrid.com/UK/Our-company/] (formerly Transco), owns four of the UK's eight regional gas distribution networks (as well as the British and Welsh electricity transmission system). The company's national gas transmission system transports all the gas delivered throughout the entire UK, serving approximately 10.9 million customers, with about one million of those customers receiving their gas via IGT networks [www.ofgem.gov.uk/gas/distribution-networks/connections-and-competition/independent-gas-transporters].
6. Practically speaking, IGT networks provide equivalent levels of service to that of the GDN, so consumers who currently receive their gas through IGTs needn't worry about inferior network or service quality.
7. Consumers who are interested in determining whether they are currently served through an IGT can visit the Energylinx website and use the company's free tool [energylinx.co.uk/mprn/] to check their Gas Meter Point Reference Number (MPRN).
8. The site also tells those consumers who have their gas bills handy that they can determine whether their gas is supplied via an IGT by looking at their MPRN. If the number is 10-digits long and the first two digits are 74, 75, 76 or 77, the number indicates that the consumer is served by an Independent Gas Transporter.
9. A third option the site offers to help consumers determine their IGT service status when they don't happen to have their MPRN information handy is to download the standard MPRN request form.
10. Energylinx also offers a convenient search engine to help consumers compare various utility prices, including electricity, renewable electricity, gas [http://energylinx.co.uk/energycalc.html?db=gas] and both gas and electricity. Using the search engine, consumers may easily compare all UK suppliers in the utility category or categories searched. By filling in the various requested criteria, the consumer can see how other suppliers stack up against his/her current supplier.
IGT gas is a common utility option in the UK, providing one more convenient way to move the gas that many people use for household heating, water heating and cooking and that supplies the functions of commercial and industrial operations all across the country from its source via the pipeline and ultimately delivering it to the end user to make life more comfortable.