Information for gas customers

The gas network is designed to deliver gas from different sources safely and reliably to customers. It already carries some forms of ‘green’ or renewable gases and is likely to carry more of these in the future. Green gases, such as biomethane are low carbon and could offer an affordable and practical way to reduce the carbon dioxide emissions that come from heating and cooking, while being used in the same way as natural gas is today.

To maximise the potential of the gas network to deliver green gases some aspects of the industry need to be updated. One of these is the commercial framework that the gas industry operates under. We have called this the ‘billing methodology’. This project is looking at options to do this and to recommend the best solution for gas customers.

Unlocks the full potential of the gas network to deliver low carbon energy

Helps customers move to a low carbon energy future

Preparing for a different energy future

Over the last 50 years, the GB gas distribution network has carried mostly natural gas from the North Sea. But, in the last decade alternative sources of gas have come onto the network such as imported LNG (liquefied natural gas) and small quantities of bio-methane. The future brings the potential for more alternative gases, such as BioSNG, and hydrogen blending. Many of these alternative gas sources are low carbon. All of these types of gas provide heat to your home in the same way as natural gas, and can be delivered through the existing gas network.

Increasing the amount of alternative, low carbon gases could help GB move to a low carbon energy future without the need for expensive changes to people’s homes.


Why do we need this project?

While the existing gas pipe network can deliver different types of gas, the commercial framework or ‘billing methodology’ that the industry operates under was set up for one source of gas only – natural gas.

How it works now

The national gas network is split into local distribution zones. The gas coming into each zone is measured by:

  • Volume; and
  • Energy content or calorific value

Gas customers are billed based on a single average calorific value for each local distribution area, in accordance with industry guidelines.

This means companies who want to deliver alternative gases which have a lower calorific value, such as low carbon gases must do additional processing before their gas is added to network. This means operators who produce low carbon gases must add propane – a costly greenhouse gas, to bring their gas up to the standard required. When propane burns it generates 20% more CO2 than methane, the main component of natural gas. This reduces the low carbon benefit of the bio-methane by adding fossil based carbon back in to the process!

How this project will help

This project aims to remove the need for costly and environmentally unfriendly gas pre-processing. It will do this by looking at ways to update the commercial framework which controls the way gas is distributed and measured for billing.

Making it as easy as possible for alternative gases to enter the distribution system is a vital step towards making gas networks part of the future energy mix. Continued use of the gas networks will help gas customers move to low carbon energy in an affordable and practical way, compared to other routes such as switching to electricity to provide heat.

Remove the need for costly gas pre-processing.
Unlock the full potential of the gas distribution network to deliver low carbon gas.
Help customers move to a low carbon energy future using the existing gas distribution network.


All existing and new sources of gas which are delivered to your home must meet strict safety regulations set out by the HSE in the Gas Safety Management Regulations.

This project does not impact those regulations.


This project will not affect how your gas is billed now. It will explore the potential of different options to update the billing methodology in the future. In the long-term this work could help customers move to a low carbon energy future in the most affordable and practical way.


The NIC04 Future Billing Methodology Project Progress Report 5 is now available. Click here to...

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