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Influencing Bodies - Government Agencies

The Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (OFGEM)

When the gas industry was privatised in 1994, a regulating organisation - Office of Gas Regulation (OFGAS), was introduced to promote and oversee free and fair compensation in the gas market. In 1999 this was merged with the similar function in the electricity industry (OFFER) to become the OFGEM. OFGEM has a principal statutory objective to protect the interests of gas and electricity consumers, wherever appropriate, by promoting effective competition.

The role has expanded so that their themes and priorities cover social and environmental action, competition in wholesale markets, price control, competition and industry structure. OFGEM publish lists of licensed gas shippers, domestic gas suppliers, industrial / commercial gas suppliers, UIPs and GTs.

The single underlying objective of OFGEM's metering strategy is to enable the buyers and sellers of metering and meter reading services to exercise choice over how they obtain these services. Competition in metering services can deliver significant benefits to consumers through lower prices and improved standards of service. However, perhaps more importantly, competition in metering has significant scope to facilitate progress towards wider objectives - for example, the reduction of fuel poverty, and the promotion of energy efficiency.


The Utilities Act 2000 established Energywatch as a combined gas and electrical consumer's council to supersede the gas/electricity consumer councils. It aims to deal with complaints, foster assertive consumers, drive the consumer agenda to get better deals and improved services, work with companies to improve performance, campaign on safety matters and to campaign for eradication of fuel poverty.

BIS (Department for Business Innovation & Skills)

The Department for Business Innovation & Skills has specific responsibilities for the gas industry, notably its relationship with the rest of Europe, European directives and technical standards. Important directives are the Gas Appliance Directive and ATEX (Explosive Atmospheres). Many European directives and guidelines, along with other related information, may be found on the European website.

Health and Safety Executive (HSE) - Role in Gas Safety

Legislation controlling the installation and use of gas, stems back to 1972, when the former Department of Energy introduced the Gas Safety Regulations 1972. These were rewritten in 1984 (GSIUR), and updated in 1994 and 1998. The Pipelines (Safety) Regulations also superseded the parts of the 1972 regulations concerning gas services. Policy and enforcement responsibililties for gas safety were transferred to the HSC and HSE respectively in 1986. HSE's current health and safety regime for the installation and use for gas, consists of two separate strands that work in parallel. Firstly, legislation to control the installation and use of gas at domestic and most commercial premises; secondly, publicity campaigns designed to raise the awareness of the risks from gas, targeted at those consumers who are perceived to be at greatest risk.

Building Regulations

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has the responsibility for producing Building Regulations for England and Wales. Practical ways of meeting these requirements are given in Approved  Documents for each of these Parts. Alternative ways of meeting the statutory requirements are possible, e.g., by following certain British or European standards or industry codes of practice.

The Approved Documents that especially relate to gas utilisation are ADL1 - Heat Conservation and ADJ - Heat Producing appliances. A supplement to ADJ explains the relationship of British and European standards concerning chimneys, flueing and ventilation, and how the latter are to be introduced.

Note: Throughout this document, where references are made to the requirements of Building Regulations for England and Wales, similar requirements may apply in other geographical areas of the UK.



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