Archive for the ‘Gas’ Category

Smart Grid – Smart meters – Opportunities and barriers

Monday, April 19th, 2010

Opportunities and barriers

Smart meters
By creating a potential two-way communication path between consumers and utilities, smart meters provides a cornerstone for future smart grid development. To leverage the potential of smart meters, additional steps are needed. The current approach of setting the minimum functionality of meters through regulation is cumbersome in light of the rapid evolution of smart meter technology. If this approach is retained, however, the minimum functionality should be expanded to include two-way communications, and the ability to detect outages and transmit this information back to distributors (known as “last gasp” functionality).

Two-way communications will allow utilities and other service providers to easily provide price information and, if critical peak pricing is implemented, to notify consumers of critical peak pricing events. “Last gasp” functionality will allow smart meters to help pinpoint outage locations and improve service restoration by ensuring that no consumers are missed because of a secondary outage condition when service is restored to an area. Utilities should continue to be able to seek cost recovery for additional functionality that benefts customers in applications before the OEB.The consumption and price data or other signals provided through smart meters can provide important information for home energy management networks. Customers or their authorized service providers

should be able to access this information from the consumer’s smart meter for use by home energy management systems. More work should be done to extend the benefts of smart meters to those customers who live in multi-unit buildings that are bulk metered. In this arrangement, building residents do not pay for their own usage directly, but instead the electricity costs for the building as a whole are paid by all occupants through rental rates or common area charges. Under current regulations, smart sub-meters may be voluntarily installed in condominiums at the discretion of the individual condominium board or the condominium developer for new buildings. Smart sub-metering activities in condominiums are overseen by the OEB, who in consultation with stakeholders, has developed a Smart Sub-Metering Code to ensure the protection of these consumers. The regulations dealing with condominium corporations are an important frst step in the rollout of smart sub-meters in the multi-unit residential sector and further regulations should be considered for multi-unit rental buildings.

While smart sub-meters may not be appropriate for some multi-unit buildings because of centralized provision of heating and cooling or wiring arrangements, additional work is necessary to promote installation of smart meters whereever they can provide residents with meaningful ability to control their electricity use. Smart sub-metering will help empower Ontarians with the tools to control their energy use so that they are able to become full participants in the culture of conservation.

Gas distribution, Transporters and suppliers the UK

Monday, April 5th, 2010

There are over 18 Energy companies supplying the UK.

Gas supplies are similar to electrical regulated market, although not so complex!

Gas distribution:

Gas distribution is the process whereby gas is taken from the high pressure transmission system and distributed through low pressure networks of pipes to industrial complexes, offices and homes.

There are eight gas distribution networks (GDNs), which each cover a separate geographical region of Britain. In addition there are a number of smaller networks owned and operated by Independent Gas Transporters (IGTs) – most but not all of these networks have been built to serve new housing.

Existing gas distribution networks are monopolies. GDNs and IGTs are regulated by Ofgem to protect consumers from potential abuse of monopoly power.

In order to be able to distribute gas on the distribution systems, a GDN and IGT must hold a licence. The licences contain conditions which among other things limit the amount of revenue which these companies can recover from their customers.

The gas distribution sector has recently undergone a major change. On 1 June 2005 National Grid Gas plc sold four of the eight GDNs to Scotia Gas Networks (which owns Southern Gas Network and Scotland Gas Network), Northern Gas Networks and Wales & West Utilities.

At its simplest National Grid, Scotia Gas Networks, Gas Transporters (IGTs) are the companies that pipes gas on behalf of the UK’s gas suppliers.

Gas suppliers

Gas suppliers providing the gas in the UK.

Summary for the customer:

  • Gas is metered and you pay only for the units you use.
  • Gas rates differ across the different providers.
  • You can switch your Gas supplier at any time if you wish and lots of competition means switching could mean savings for you.

To find out more information about your Gas company or any of the other companies in the UK, click on a logo below.



Atlantic Electric and Gas Countrywide Energy Equigas (EBICo) Lloyds TSB Seeboard Energy SWALEC Telecom Plus


British Gas EDF Energy London Energy ScottishPower/Manweb Southern Electric SWEB Energy Utilita


Monday, April 5th, 2010


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.

    Gas storage facility given approval

    Monday, April 5th, 2010

    The UK’s gas storage facilities have just been given a massive boost by the government. It has just provided a licence for the construction of a natural gas storage facility under the Irish Sea that will cost in the region of £660 million.

    The Gateway Project, as it is known, is being developed by Gateway Storage Company. The salt deposits under the sea are a perfect place in which to store natural gas, and once completed they will improve the UK’s gas storage capacity by an incredible 30%.

    The actual storage facility will be made up of 20 vast caverns. Each of these will be built between 750 and 1,025 metres below the sea floor. Together they will have a combined storage capacity of 1.5 billion cubic metres.

    The new facility will be situated about 15 miles from Barrow-in-Furness. Now that the licence has been granted it is expected that construction work will begin as early as this year. Commercial operations are billed to begin in 2014.

    The main aim behind the new facility is to improve the flexibility of gas supplies, especially when prices go up or there is particularly high demand. The salt caverns are perfect for storing gas because they can withstand the incredibly high pressures that are generated.

    The chairman of Gateway, George Furness, said that they were now “fully engaged with the project’s engineering design and are targeting 2014 for the start of commercial storage operations.”

    With fears over the security of the UK’s gas supplies in the future, and the constant threat of gas being used as a political weapon by such countries as Russia, this is a positive move for gas supplies in the country.