2. The structure of the industry
Since 1999, all gas and electricity customers in Great Britain have been able to choose the company from which they buy their fuel supplies.
The gas industry is split into three parts – shippers, transporters and suppliers – with a requirement on those operating in each part to be licensed. Shippers buy gas and put it into the pipes, transporters convey it to your meter and suppliers sell the gas to you (shipping and supplying is normally done by different parts of the same company).
The main effect for you is that the supplier who sends the gas bill does not actually handle the gas itself – that is the role of the transporter. If there is a gas leak, for example, you should contact the transporter, not the supplier. The main gas transportation network is split up into four companies:
•Cadent Gas covers four areas of England: north west England, north London, eastern England and the west midlands;
•Northern Gas Networks cover in the north of England;
•SGN covers Scotland and southern England (including South London);
•Wales and West Utilities cover Wales and the west of England.
In addition, there are also a number of independent gas transporters that have various smaller networks throughout Britain.