Answers to all your questions about gas procurement
Your Contract Termination
It is important to terminate your current gas contract with your present supplier as failure to terminate within the suppliers notice period can result in the contract being rolled over for a further 12-month period. Most gas suppliers have a 90-day notice period as part of their terms and conditions, but we recommend that you check with your supplier by ringing the customer service number that appears on your bill. By terminating the contract with your current supplier, doesn’t mean that you can’t accept a renewal offer from them, or that you’ll be cut off when the contract comes to an end but it allows you the freedom to search and compare the market. We have provided an example of the gas termination letter in appendix E, which will need completing on your company letterhead, before sending by recorded delivery.
Commercial Gas Prices
Unlike the electricity market, your gas is pre-bought and sold on by the energy companies. Your price will depend upon two main factors: your usage, which the companies are given by the network (Transco), and delivery charges. The further away from the terminals you are, the more transport costs you incur.
If your usage is in below ~750,000 kWh per year the prices will come from the gas companies general pricing structures which used to move every week, but now change almost daily. If your usage is above this level and into the 1,000,000’s the companies will go to the open market and get you a price that may be valid for only a day or few hours.
The day to day prices in the larger market reflect the open market conditions if the Met Office tell us ‘it’s going to be the worst winter in history’ (see Nov 2005), if there is trouble in the middle east, if Russia cuts off a neighbour, the prices will fluctuate dramatically. Often there is not a ‘real’ supply issue; it is just the nerves of the market.
MPRN (M number, Meter Point Reference Number)
Every mains gas meter in the UK has an MPRN. The MPRN is unique to the meter and therefore the property and does not change if you change supplier or even if you move.
Sometimes the MPRN is referred to as a M Number or Meter Point Reference Number
Your MPRN should be printed on a recent gas bill. Most suppliers print the MPRN on either the first page of their gas bills or the reverse of the front page.
Your MPRN should not be confused with your gas supplier account number or the meter serial number printed on the meter itself. Some very recent gas meter installations have the MPRN clearly identified on the meter itself although this practice is quite rare.
The format of a MPRN is quite standard and consists of between 6 and 10 numerical digits only.
If the MPRN starts with 74 or 75 then you should be aware that gas is piped to your property by an Independent Gas Transporter. This may have an adverse effect on the price you pay for gas as some gas suppliers charge a premium rate to customers served by an Independent Gas Transporter.
If your MPRN is not printed on a recent gas bill or if have just moved into your home and do not yet have a gas bill, you can find out your MPRN by calling Tranco’s MPRN helpline on 0870 608 1524 (Transco can only provide details of MPRNs that do not belong to Independent Gas Transporters – contact details of which can be found in Appendix F.)
Independent Gas Transporters – hidden costs
If you are served by an Independent Gas Transporter’s (IGT) network (i.e. not Transco) you may find that the price you pay for gas is slightly higher than the standard published price provided by the gas supplier.
This is because the gas supplier must pay both Transco and the Independent Gas Transporter to deliver gas through the pipes to your business.
In practical terms there is nothing wrong with having an Independent Gas Transporter deliver the gas to your business, the downside is the additional cost element.
Many construction companies use Independent Gas Transporters to save money when they are building new properties, as the Independent Gas Transporters will offer, in most cases, a more competitive price for all the connection work than Transco.
The problem occurs when you then wish to compare the prices offered by the gas suppliers. Some of the low cost gas suppliers will not quote for a supply to a property connected via an Independent Gas Transporter and the majority of other suppliers will charge a premium.
So whilst the builder gets a good deal when installing the gas network, you the consumer end up paying for this in increased costs forever.
To find out whether you are connected to the gas distribution system via an Independent Gas Transporter is quite simple.
If the M number (MPRN) shown on your gas bill is 10 digits long and begins with 74 or 75 then you are supplied by an Independent Gas Transporter.
You should find your M number (MPRN) on either the front page or reverse of the front page of a recent gas bill.
We have worked with businesses up and down the country and have the experience and contacts to find you the best deals, without taking too much of your time. Changing supplier is a relatively simple and painless process, and there will be no interruption to your supply. The only difference will be the name of the supplier and the price your paying.
The service is free and without obligation, so please call Nick Grogan on 0131 610 1688 to see how much we can save you.