Independent gas transporter networks, or IGTs, cover a relatively small proportion of the gas market
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You may have heard the phrase independent gas transporter or IGT used, particularly if you live in a remote rural area, but what are they exactly? We look at what an independent gas transporter is and what it means to be supplied by an IGT network.
What are IGTs?
Have you ever thought about how gas is transported around the country? To get gas delivered straight into most homes in the UK requires an incredible network of pipes criss-crossing beneath our feet.
Pipelines around the UK supply gas to millions of homes, and the majority of these pipes are owned and operated by one organisation: National Grid gas.
The National Grid as we know it today came about as a result of the Electricity Act in 1989. This act privatised the electricity industry. National Grid was the company formed to operate the transmission systems.
However, while National Grid dominates most of the gas transmission market, there are a number of pipes that fall outside their remit, and that is where independent gas transporter networks come in.
An estimated 1 million homes use an IGT network. The quality of IGT-supplied gas is no different to normal gas, but as it isn't part of the National Grid things work a little but differently.
What does it mean to have IGT gas?
IGT only refers to the method by which your gas is transported from A to B. So, for all intents and purposes, there is no difference to having your gas be transported by National Grid or an independent gas transporter.
If you are simply curious if you are on an IGT network or not, you can refer to your gas meter number:
Gas meter numbers beginning with the number 74, 75, 76, or 77 are IGT UK numbers, any others belong to the National Grid.
The letters IGT may also appear on your bill. You can often find your gas meter number, also referred to as your MPRN or meter point reference number, on your energy bill. The number will usually be between six and ten digits long.
Sometimes your MPRN number is also called your m number, but don't despair if you cant find it. If in doubt just call the Meter Number Helpline on 0870 608 1524, and they should be able to point you in the right direction. (Please note that calls cost 7p per minute plus your phone company's access charge.)
The quality of IGT supplied gas is no different to normal gas, the only downside is the additional cost. As IGT supplied gas isn't supplied to as broad a spectrum of suppliers it has driven the cost up.
Are there particular IGT charges?
While independent gas transporters may be convenient for new home builders, they are unfortunately not that beneficial to your wallet. IGTs charge energy suppliers more for supplying gas through their pipes.
Luckily most of the big six energy suppliers British Gas, npower, SSE, EON, EDF Energy and ScottishPower will absorb these extra charges so you don't have to pay them. However, smaller suppliers including First Utility and OVO Energy may charge you slightly more by asking you to cover the cost of IGT charges.
As a result your typical energy bill will often be slightly higher than the energy bill of a comparable property.
Switching with an IGT tariff
You should be aware that IGT fees are not typically included in your switching quote, as the additional cost of your IGT tariff cannot be estimated by us. The good news is that you can still use uSwitch to find the best deals and suppliers in your area, but rather than switch through us you should call the suppliers. They in turn will be able to tell you how much extra they will charge you, on top of the quote you got from us, for being an IGT uk customer.
Once you know whether you wil be charged extra you can come back to us and complete your switch. Switching energy is easy and painless; all you need is five minutes and, preferably, a recent energy bill.
The easiest way to switch is with your usage details from a recent energy bill. Entering your consumption in kWh, either for a month, quarter or year, will allow us to translate how much this usage would cost you on a different tariff or with a different supplier, giving you the most accurate quote possible.
Don't worry if you can't find your usage information though, we can still give you an accurate quote using spending figures. Alternatively, if you don't have an energy bill to hand, we can also estimate your usage by asking you a few simple questions.
Once you've entered your details we will show you all the suppliers and plans available in your area and how much switching to them could save you. We will also, where possible, show you some customer reviews of the suppliers so you can judge them on something other than price alone.
Once you've chosen a plan or supplier suitable for you it's simply a question of entering your details, including your payment details if you want to set up Direct Debit payments.
Then you can leave it to us. We send all your details through to your new supplier who process your switch request and contact your old supplier. The only other thing you need to do is submit a final meter reading to your old supplier to ensure your final bill is as accurate as possible.
That's it. The switch process typically takes anywhere between four and six weeks and then you should be on your way to cheaper and better value energy.
Need more information?
There are currently six independent gas transporters in the UK. They are:
- GTC Pipelines
- Independent pipelines
- ES Pipelines
- Fulcrum Pipelines
- SSE Pipelines
The energy regulator Ofgem regulates all IGTs, and the Association of Independent Gas Transporters, or AIGT, is the official trade body.