On mainland Britain, there are two distinct gas connections customer catergories;
• Standard (Domestic)
These two customer groups are treated differently by the gas industry when dealing with gas connection requests.
To be classifed as a domestic customer and to qualify for a standard one-off connection, the premises where gas is being connected must have an owner or occupier and be mainly or wholly used for domestic purposes. The annual gas consumption must be 73,200kWh or less.
Non-standard customers are all customers that do not fulfill the standard domestic critiria above. Typically however, the premises where gas is going to be connected would mainly or wholly need to be used for non-domestic purposes. Some large domestic houses (typically 6 bedroom or larger and/or having a swimming pool) may have a large enough hourly gas load requirement for it to be treated as non-domestic for design purposes. But in any event however, the house in question would need to have an annual gas consumption greater than 73,200 kWh, to be classed as being in the non-domestic arena.
The non-domestic gas connections market is now competitive and there are a number of connections provider companies competing for business in this area. However, there is effectively no choice of connections provider for a standard one-off domestic connection - and there may never be. This is due to the obligations that are currently placed upon the five main distribution network operators (DNO's), by Parliament. The main DNO's are National Grid Gas, Northern Gas Networks, Wales & West Utilities, Scotia Gas Networks and Southern Gas Networks. There are also smaller independent gas transporter companies, but they are not subject to the same rules. The Gas Act requires that a highly subsidised connection charge is provided to qualifying individual domestic customers, by the DNOs. To qualify* for this subsidised charge (in addition to fulfilling the domestic criteria as described above), the premises to be connected must be within 23m of a relevant gas main and need no more than 20m or 40m of pipe (depending on DNO), to be laid on private land. The subsidised nature of the standard one-off domestic charge has meant that no independent connections provider can compete in this area of the market.
*There are other qualifying conditions.
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