Gas industry regulators

How are the gas and electricity industries regulated?

According to the Department for Trade and Industry’s paper on utility regulation, the duty of gas and electricity regulators is to protect the interests of consumers, regulate competition between providers, and monitor social andenvironmental issues within the industry.

The main principle behind utility regulation is to put the consumer first: this involves promoting healthy competition between providers to ensure fair prices, and also protecting consumers when things go wrong. This is all achieved by providing incentives for the providers to perform well; and, where necessary, administering discipline to ensure that the rights of consumers are upheld satisfactorily.

The gas industry is based around three key companies:

xoserve :: Energywatch :: Ofgem

xoserve

xoserve

Who are xoserve?

Xoserve was founded on 1st May 2005 and is jointly owned by the five major gas distribution Network companies and National Grid’s gas transmission business. Xoserve is an integral part of the restructured gas distribution market in the UK and provides one consistent service point for the gas Shipper companies.

What is the their role?

Xoserve manages all the information relating to the 22 million gas supply points in Britain, domestic, industrial and commercial. This is known as Supply Point Administration, and the information is used to facilitate the transfer processes which enable gas supply competition to operate effectively in the UK.

Xoserve’s Customer Service Centre deals with queries from, and provides information to the major gas Networks’ customers, the gas shippers. This is known as the Data Centre, and it provides information via telephone and email.

When would I need to contact xoserve?

Xoserve provides an M Number enquiry line service for end gas consumers. This enables consumers to call a dedicated phone number to establish what the M Number (the unique identifier) is for their gas supply point and also the identity of the current registered gas supplier at their premises.

Xoserve does not do:

  • Gas Metering (new fixes, exchanges or removals)
  • Metering Readings
  • Gas Connections
  • Electricity
  • How do I contact them?

    Domestic customers wishing to know their current gas supplier should contact Gas Consumer M number helpline on: 0870 608 1524.

    Commercial customers wishing to know their current gas supplier should contact xoserve on: 0845 601 3049.

    To report a gas escape or gas safety issues call National Gas Service Emergency Line on: 0800 111 999.

    Energywatch

    What is Energywatch’s role?

    Energywatch is the independent watchdog for the gas and electricity industries. Its aim is to ensure that users get the most out of their gas and electricity providers, and does so by providing free and impartial advice on gas and electricity supplier issues, and dealing with consumer complaints that cannot be solved by complaining directly to their supplier.

    Energywatch can also be used to find out performance statistics for suppliers, as well as for assistance and advice on gas and electricity bill pricing.

    How does Energywatch deal with customer complaints?

    Energywatch serves as a final port of call for individuals unhappy or dissatisfied with the service they have received from their gas or electricity provider. If a consumer cannot satisfactorily resolve a problem they have with their provider by contacting them directly, Energywatch will act on the consumer’s behalf to investigate and solve the problem, either by seeking compensation for the consumer, or, in more severe cases, naming and shaming offending companies.

    All feedback taken on board from consumers is used by Energywatch to work with the gas and electricity providers to adapt and improve on existing customer service policies.

    How can I complain to Energywatch?

    If you are dissatisfied with the resolution your gas or electricity provider has offered you, contact Energywatch either by phone on: 08459 06 07 08.

    OFGEM

    OFGEM

    What is OFGEM’s role?

    OFGEM is the official independent regulating body for both the gas and electricity industries. Its primary objective is to protect the consumers of gas and electricity services, which it does in a number of ways: maintaining healthy competition between providers to ensure a choice of competitive prices are available, securing gas and electricity supplies for providers, preventing industry monopolies from occurring, and regulating social and environmental outputs of gas and electricity products.

    OFGEM takes an active role in regulating the actions of gas and electricity providers only when it is necessary to protect the consumer.

    How does OFGEM help the environment?

    Part of OFGEM’s job is to ensure that the actions of gas and electricity providers do not have adverse effects on the environment. This is, in the main, achieved by constantly reviewing its operations to quickly identify any adverse effects that may be impacting on the environment.

    OFGEM maintains constant contact with gas and electricity providers to ensure that their products always support OFGEM’s stringent environmental policy, and also works to promote energy saving methods amongst the public.

    Contact OFGEM

    If you require information about OFGEM’s role or policies, visit their official site.

    If this does not help to answer your question, please call OFGEM’s consumer affairs number on: 0207 901 7295 or
    e-mail them.