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  • Frequently asked questions about the legal requirements for supplying gas to a property and buying your own gas meter

  • Can I get gas without a gas supplier by installing my own gas meter?

     

    No. Irrespective of who owns the meter, to use gas, you must by law, have a contract in place with a gas supplier as it’s illegal to use gas without such a contract.

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  • Is it OK to purchase a meter from a 3rd party e.g. via a web site?

     

    Yes it is, but the Gas Act 1995 requires every consumer of gas to take their supply through a meter that has been approved for billing purposes.

    While it is not an illegal act to purchase a gas meter, careful consideration should be given to the intended use of the meter.

    For example, your gas meter is used to calculate the amount of gas used to enable the gas supplier to bill you. Hence, your gas meter needs to be fit for its purpose.

    Any interference with a meter to prevent it from recording accurately or to attempt to manipulate the quantity of gas consumed in any way, are criminal offences.

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  • Is it OK to ask my gas supplier to remove their meter from my property and for me to arrange for a Gas Safe registered installer to fit my own meter?

     
     

    Irrespective of who owns the meter, to use gas you must by law have a contract in place with a gas supplier as it is illegal to use gas without such a contract.

    Yes, it is permissible for you to ask your supplier to remove his meter and for you to install your own.

    You must ensure that the meter is fitted by a Gas Safe registered engineer working for a licenced company.

    You are responsible for ensuring it is fit for purpose and measures accurately.

    If the meter goes wrong you will have to buy a new one and get it refitted at your cost.

    The only charge you can avoid by owning your meter is the meter rental charge which the supplier normally rolls into your gas price. The level of discount you will get for owning your own meter is a matter between you and your chosen supplier.

    If you have any questions or concerns regarding your gas meter you should contact your gas supplier in the first instance.

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  • Who owns the gas?

     
     

    The ownership of gas changes as it moves through the network. In simple terms, gas which is delivered to your property is owned by your gas supplier.

    National Grid is responsible for this gas whilst it is being transported.

    Note: Gas suppliers pay distribution networks to transport the gas to their customers (similar in nature to a haulage company delivering goods on behalf of a retailer).

    The full process is explained in the section Further Explanations below.

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  • What is National Grid’s role within the gas industry?

     
     

    National Grid is the owner and operator of the national transmission system (NTS) as well as owning four low pressure distribution networks, which take gas from the NTS to your house.

    National Grid also manages the National Gas Emergency Service free phone line on behalf of the industry - 0800 111 999 (all calls are recorded and may be monitored).

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  • Why do we have two numbers for the enquiry line, one which is free and one which is an 0845 number?

     

    The free number 0800 111 999 is the national gas emergency number specifically for people to report gas emergencies.

    It is run by National Grid on behalf of all gas distribution companies.

    This number 0845 835 1111 is National Grid’s gas enquiry line number.

    Each gas distribution company operates its own independent service for non-urgent enquiries.

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  • Why can I contact National Grid enquiries using 01452 307307 when the available number found elsewhere is 0845 835 1111?

     
     

    National Grid’s gas enquiry line number is 0845 835 1111. All old numbers should be discarded. Each gas distribution company has their own gas enquiry line number.

    The telephone number quoted 01452 is a reception number. The correct number for National Grid Metering is 0845 606 6766.

    The reason that we have 0845 numbers is to enable our calls to be delivered to different locations. It gives customers a consistent point of contact without having different numbers for different locations.

    Further information about gas suppliers and the gas market can be found at www.ofgem.gov.uk/gas or www.energynetworks.org/gas (Iinks will open in a new browser window).

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  • Who owns National Grid?

     
     

    National Grid is a private limited company owned by its shareholders.

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  • Do you get your money from the Government?

     
     

    National Grid Gas plc (a wholly owned subsidiary of National Grid plc) is a regulated company. Regulated means that the prices we charge the gas shippers are determined by Ofgem and we are only allowed to earn a predetermined amount of revenue.

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  • Who is National Grid Metering?

     

    National Grid Metering is a subsidiary company of National Grid which provides metering services in the regulated gas metering market.

    National Grid Metering’s activities broadly cover the following areas:

    • Asset procurement and logistics management
    • Meter installation Exchange and removal
    • Customer Service provision
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  • Can I buy National Grid shares?

     
     

    Yes, National Grid is a FTSE 100 company. Our shares can be bought in the same way as any other shares.

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  • Where does the gas come from?

     
     

    Natural gas comes from the North Sea or from importation from Europe or from LNG (liquefied natural gas) tankers. The producers sell the gas to shippers, who sell to gas suppliers, who in turn provide gas to customers. National Grid transports this gas.

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  • What does National Grid do?

     
     

    National Grid in the UK:

    • We own the high-voltage electricity transmission network in England and Wales, operating it across Great Britain
    • We own and operates the high pressure gas transmission system in Britain.
    • Our gas distribution business delivers gas to 11 million homes and businesses in the North West, West midlands, East of England (South Yorkshire, East Midlands and East Anglia) and North London area.
    • We also own a number of related businesses including LNG importation, land remediation and metering.
    • National Grid manages the National Gas Emergency Service free phone line on behalf of the industry - 0800 111 999 (all calls are recorded and may be monitored).
    • Our portfolio of other businesses is mainly concerned with infrastructure provision and related services where we can exploit our core skills and assets to create value. These businesses operate in areas such as Metering, Grain LNG Import, Interconnectors and Property. National Grid Carbon Ltd is a wholly owned subsidiary of National Grid and it undertakes Carbon Capture Storage related activities on behalf of National Grid.
     
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  • Who owns the other gas distribution networks?

     
     

    (Links above will open in a new tab or browser window.)

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  • Who owns the local electricity companies?

     
     

    (Links above will open in a new tab or browser window.)

     
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  • Simple advice regarding your gas meter and moving property

     
     
    • When you move out of a property, note the meter reading and inform your supplier of the reading and that you moved out on a specific date.
    • When you move into a new property, write down the meter reading and contact whoever you wish to supply your gas. Explain you have just moved into this property, on this given date, provide the meter reading and explain that you would like them to supply your gas; the gas supplier will do the rest. Contact the present gas supplier (if different) and National Grid that they are the new supplier to this address and gas meter with MPRN. (Meter point reference number)
    • They will ask for a meter point reference number which can be found on the gas meter.
    • If you phone a gas supplier and they are not the present gas supplier for that property they should advise you to call the MRN number telephone number 0870 608 1524, which will provide people with a MRN and or the present gas supplier. *This call will cost 7 per minute plus your phone company’s access charge.
    • If you move into a property and have NOT been billed for your gas usage, the gas supplier will charge any back dated charges to the present occupier unless you can prove when you moved into the property, or they may try to find the previous occupier. Hence the importance of taking the meter reading and informing the gas supplier you are moving out or have just moved in.
     
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  • Further explanations

     
     

    Who owns the gas?

    • The ownership of gas changes as it moves through the network.
    • At the well-head it is owned by the owner of the gas field.
    • In the gas network it is the responsibility of the transporter that owns the pipe.
    • Ownership transfers to your gas supplier just before the meter.
    • Contracts between the various gas industry companies ensure that responsibility is established all along the way to ensure that the supplier is entitled to sell you the gas that you burn.
    • The supplier will in turn have a contract with you that will set out all the things you are expected to do (or as the case may be, not do) as a customer of that supplier.

    In this way, in terms of gas in the pipes, National Grid and the other gas transporter companies are responsible for this gas whilst it is being transported in the networks it owns. Accompanying that responsibility is a number of rights and obligations.

    • If gas is taken through a meter (irrespective of who owns the meter) but the consumer does not have a contract with a gas supplier, this is tantamount to theft.
    • If those rare circumstances occur, the party responsible for the gas where no supplier is present is the transporter and they will take the necessary actions. In these circumstances, the transporter has powerful rights of entry and the actions it can take to prevent the on-going theft include removal of the meter or disconnection in the road.
    • Additionally, we will bill for any gas consumed, or judged by us to have been consumed, and will seek additional recompense for the cost of any work undertaken in remedying the matter. Gas transporters are particularly effective in pursuing theft of gas from their network.

    Who pays for what?

    Gas producers and importers sell gas to licenced shippers who then own the gas as it travels through the transmission and distribution networks.

    Shipping involves buying gas from the producers, arranging for it to be conveyed to supply points (via our NTS) and selling it to gas suppliers. We are not a gas shipper.

    Shippers pay us to run their gas through our national transmission network and LNG importers pay for the right to land LNG at our importation terminals.

    Shippers also pay National Grid and other gas distribution network operators to transport their gas to homes and businesses. These charges are passed on to consumers and reflect the cost of building, maintaining and operating the networks and running a 24-hour gas emergency helpline.

    Gas consumers – homes and businesses throughout the UK – have many gas supply companies to choose from. The supply companies pay the gas shippers who buy gas and arrange for it to be transported.

    How the gas industry works - an overview

    Gas producers and importers bring gas to the UK in ships and pipes and sell it to gas shippers who in turn arrange for it to be entered into the gas transmission system. Once it enters the transmission system, the transporter operating that particular part of the gas network has responsibility for the gas. Many years ago, there was only one company responsible for the entire gas network. However, now the transmission system is operated by a single company and the distribution networks (the pipes in our road and footpaths) are owned be a number of different gas transportation companies, (split by geography), and this diversity continues to the extent that some housing estates even have their gas networks owned by different licenced independent gas transporters.

    Once a shipper has delivered the gas into the system, the transporters take over and, between them, using all the various networks, arrange for the gas to be made available at the meter in your home. Once gas is at your property the supplier takes over, (the actual point of transfer is the valve next to the meter), and, using the meter, measures the quantity you consume and will bill you for that quantity. The supplier tells the shipper how much gas he has sold and the shipper ensures that it has put sufficient gas into the system and will pay all the transporters for moving that gas from where it came in to where it came out.

    As you can see there are number of companies whose costs have to be included into the price of the gas that you consume at home. The price of gas includes costs for: exploration, production, offshore pipelines, shipping (in real ships), transportation in the high pressure pipes, transportation in the low pressure pipes, meter rental, plus the cost of building, maintaining and operating all these the networks and running a 24-hour gas emergency helpline.

    Gas consumers – homes and businesses throughout the UK – have many gas suppliers to choose from. Put simply, supply companies pay the gas shippers to buy gas, who in turn pay transporters to move it around the UK.

    Transporters, shippers and suppliers all have to be licenced: transporters are forbidden from being either a shipper or a supplier, but shipping and supplying can be undertaken by the same company.

     
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