This guide is intended to provide general guidance only. It is not intended to give you advice on your personal financial circumstances. You should seek independent professional advice if you’re unsure about anything mentioned in this guide or what choices to make.
Most people in the UK get their gas from the National Grid or one of the other major gas distribution networks (GDNs). But if you live in an off-grid area, how does gas reach your home?
At OVO, we can provide the gas used in our customers’ homes, but we don’t own the networks of pipelines needed to carry the gas to each individual property.
Millions of homes and commercial buildings around the UK use gas for heating and cooking. So as you can imagine, there are also millions of pipes running under the ground, to transport gas everywhere it’s needed.
Gas arrives in the UK from offshore fields in the North Sea and Irish Sea, or by pipeline from Ireland, Belgium and Holland. A small amount is produced in mainland UK.
The next stage is ‘transmission’. National Grid owns all the gas transmission infrastructure in the UK. The gas starts in reception terminals, where it’s checked for quality and then injected into the national transmission system. Compressor stations keep it flowing freely.
The gas leaves the transmission system at 49 different points around the UK, and is transferred to the distribution networks, which deliver it to customers.
Most gas is distributed through one of the eight UK Gas Distribution Networks (GDNs), which are owned and managed by four companies:
However, there are many areas, such as villages or out-of-town developments, that the GDNs don’t reach. In those households, gas may be delivered by an Independent Gas Transporter (IGT).
IGTs extend the national gas network to homes and communities that can’t otherwise access the UK’s favourite source of home energy. They may be places where homes were originally designed to be heated by a different fuel, or rural areas which have never been on the national gas main. Some IGTs now offer ‘trenchless technology solutions’ to reduce the upheaval of introducing a gas pipeline to an existing community, and of carrying out repairs to pipes if anything should go wrong.
Without IGTs, around 1 million homes wouldn’t be able to enjoy the convenience and flexibility of mains natural gas.
As well as operating these individual local networks, IGTs work in partnership with developers to create the gas pipe infrastructure in new estates and lay gas pipelines to the properties. Once the estate is built and occupied, the IGT will be responsible for transporting the gas to all the homes, even though it might be supplied by a different energy company at each address. The IGT will also be responsible for maintaining the pipes.
Around 1 million homes in the UK are served by an Independent Gas Transporter network. If you’d like to know whether your home is one of them, just check the beginning of your gas meter number. If it starts with 74, 75, 76 or 77, your gas is delivered by an IGT. If it starts with any other number, you’re on the National Grid or with one of the other Gas Distribution Networks.
If you live in a really rural area, you may not have a gas meter at all, because neither the National Grid nor any of the IGTs have reached your neighbourhood yet. In that case, if you want to use gas for heating or cooking, you’ll need to have it delivered, in the form of liquid petroleum gas.
There’s no difference in the type or quality of gas provided by an Independent Gas Transporter, but it may cost a little more. This is mainly because IGTs are smaller companies, delivering to fewer customers, so they can’t afford to cut prices in the way the big Gas Distribution Networks can. So they often have to charge extra for transporting gas through their pipes, and your energy bills might be slightly higher than the bills for an identical home in a GDN area.
Ofgem uses a ‘Relative Price Control’ to regulate the amounts that IGTs can charge when they start supplying a new site. This ensures that their prices are capped at a level that broadly matches the amount charged by the GDNs.
If you’re moving home and getting quotes from energy suppliers through a comparison website, the quotes probably won’t include the extra cost of IGT transportation. So you can use the website to see which suppliers are likely to offer the best deals, but then you’ll need to contact the suppliers directly to ask how much extra they’ll charge to cover the IGT costs.
Once you’ve moved, you can switch suppliers just as often and easily as you can in a GDN region, as your network doesn’t affect your choice of supplier.
There are six IGTs working in the UK:
Altogether, they’ve completed about 1 million gas connections to homes and commercial properties, and they operate thousands of gas networks.
They are all accredited and regulated by Ofgem, and have to meet the same high standards as the Gas Distribution Networks, whether they’re designing, building, installing, operating, maintaining or monitoring their gas networks.
They can only connect households and businesses within their own individual local areas, and those properties need to be within a certain distance of the gas main. So, for example, if you live in a remote farmhouse, it wouldn’t be practical for an IGT to run a pipeline to your property.
Call the free* gas emergency line on 0800 111 999.
The gas emergency service operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. All calls to the emergency number are free of charge*, are recorded and may be monitored.
If you’re deaf or hearing impaired and have a Minicom or Textphone, the gas emergency number is 0800 371 787.
If English isn’t your first language, the operator will find an interpreter for you.
*Some mobile phone companies may make a charge for the call.
http://www2.nationalgrid.com/uk/our-company/gas/ http://www.gtc-uk.co.uk/energy-suppliers http://www.independentpipelines.co.uk/
http://www.esputilities.com/about-us.aspx http://www.energetics-uk.com/what-we-do/electricity-and-gas-network-adoption/ http://www.fulcrum.co.uk/services/gas-transporter/ http://www.sep.co.uk/portfolio/companies/indigo-pipelines/ http://www.indigopipelines.co.uk/
OVO Energy Ltd, registered office 1 Rivergate Temple Quay Bristol, BS1 6ED, company no. 06890795 registered in England and Wales, VAT No. 100119879
Additional terms and conditions
Please see below for full terms and conditions on 33% renewable electricity, 3% interest rewards, exit fees and saving claims.
1Monthly cost - Representative monthly direct debit costs based on a non-economy-7, dual-fuel, medium user (3100 kWhs elec. and 12500 kWhs gas) paying in advance by direct debit, including online discount. All rates correct as of 23/08/16, but may go up or down.
2Weekly cost - Representative weekly costs based on a non-economy-7, dual-fuel, medium user (3100 kWhs elec. and 12500 kWhs gas). All rates correct as of 23/08/16, but may go up or down.
3Pay Monthly Savings are based on the average estimated annual costs for new PAYM OVO customers quoted through the OVO website (based on household and/or consumption information provided by those customers), compared to their current supplier and tariff. Comparisons taken between 01/01/2016 and 11/10/16. Incl VAT. Actual savings may vary according to your current supplier or tariff, individual tariff options, household information, consumption and location.
4Pay As You Go Savings are based on the average estimated annual costs for new PAYG OVO customers quoted through the OVO website (based on household and/or consumption information provided by those customers), compared to their current supplier and tariff. Comparisons taken between 01/01/2016 and 11/10/16. Incl VAT. Actual savings may vary according to your current supplier or tariff, individual tariff options, household information, consumption and location.
We include almost twice as much renewable electricity as the national average: At least 33% of electricity in all of our tariffs comes from renewable sources. The national average, according to Ofgem as at March 2014 was 16.7%. For more information please visit this page.
33% of your electricity comes from renewable sources: 33% renewable electricity as standard as of 1st April 2015. Renewable electricity is generated from wind, solar, geothermal, wave, tidal, hydro, biomass, landfill gas, sewage treatment plant gas and biogas.
3% interest: Calculated at 3% per year, paid monthly based on number of days in credit and the amount left in your account after you’ve paid your bill. OVO Interest Reward is capped at 12 times the amount of the current direct debit amount and is available to customers paying by advance direct debit. Terms apply: http://www.ovoenergy.com/terms/
95% of new customers save when switching to OVO: Based on all new customer signups between 01/02/2016 and 31/07/2016
94% of surveyed customers would recommend us: OVO conducted a survey of their customers in between 1st January 2016 and 15th April 2016. Out of 15,312 customers who responded, over 94% rated OVO 6+ when asked 'how likely would you be to recommend us to a friend and family, on a scale of 1 to 10.
Britain's top rated energy provider: Britain's top rated energy provider in the Which? 2015 satisfaction survey. Survey conducted in October 2015. Awarded in January 2016.
uSwitch's Energy Supplier of the Year: OVO energy was voted and awarded 'Energy Supplier of the year' and best for: Overall Customer Satisfaction, Most Likely to be Recommended, Value for Money, Best Deal for You, Customer Service, Billing Services, Energy Efficiency, Meter Services, Online Services, Green Services and Transfer Process. OVO Energy scored a 96% customer satisfaction score.