I want to connect gas, what are my options?
Your options when choosing a gas provider depend on where you live. Victoria currently has the most providers at about fifteen, though not all operate in all areas, and some will only provide you gas if you also purchase electricity from them. Some states, territories or regions are regulated and one gas provider supplies all customers.
If you live in a regional area, and don’t have access to ‘mains gas’ (natural gas delivered by pipeline), bottled LPG, can usually be purchased and delivered to your door in most areas. There can be a number of LPG providers to choose from.
How do I choose the best option for me?
When choosing a gas provider it is important to consider reliability and affordability. You want assurance that the gas will be connected when promised and that you have been offered the best plan for your needs.
Natural gas is measured in megajoules (MJ) and charged proportional to how many megajoules you use. So, it’s important to consider the rate per megajoule that a provider offers you. Rates can vary a lot, typically from 1.5 cents per megajoule to 5 cents per megajoule. Some plans charge the same rate for all usage (flat rate). More commonly, providers set their rates in blocks according to the amount of gas used per day. For example, you might pay 2.5 cents per megajoule for the first 200 megajoules (step 1) and 2 cents per megajoule for the remainder (step 2). In addition, most gas providers add a fixed daily charge (e.g. 90 cents per day) to your bills. This is a fixed charge just for being connected to the service. Gas rates may also vary depending on the time of year, peak being over the cooler months from 1st April to 31st October and off peak from 1st November to 31st March.
A document containing specific rates offered to a customer is known as an energy plan and each provider has a number of different plans they can offer. Differences in pricing methods can make it confusing and time consuming to compare between gas providers and plans. It is also worth taking the time to consider the fine print when choosing a gas provider. Contract terms such as the length of a contract, late payment fees and exit fees can vary. Additional incentives such as “pay on time” discounts, “double-up” discounts for connecting both electricity and gas and value offers like movie tickets can add to the confusion. When it comes to assessing the offers available, experience goes a long way.
Foxie can arrange a gas connection with many leading gas providers, including;
- Origin Energy
- Momentum Energy
- Energy Australia
- Simply Energy
- Red Energy
How long does it take to connect gas and when can I get connected?
Usually gas supply is not physically disconnected between tenants however the process of setting up an account with a provider is commonly referred to as a connection. At the beginning of your tenancy, your provider will arrange a start read of the gas meter. Gas meters are read manually by the gas distributor and data is fed back to the gas provider. Further reads are taken bi-monthly to determine consumption, calculate costs and prepare your bill. The provider generally requires a minimum of 3 business days notice to ensure the start read is taken the day you move in. Meter reads are only taken on weekdays so if you are moving in on a Saturday, your start read date will be the Friday before your move.
In some cases, for example if a previous tenant has defaulted on paying their bill, a provider will manually plug the gas line. This stops gas supply to the property. To remove this plug requires a visit by a registered gas plumber organized by your gas provider.
Foxie can arrange your gas connection in one short phone call. It’s best to call us as soon as you know your move date and we can book the connection in advance.
What does it cost to get gas connected?
At Foxie we help choose the right provider for you, organize your connection and the best bit is that our service is free.
Gas providers generally do not charge a connection fee. Gas distributors however, are responsible for maintaining pipes and meters as well as reading meters, and do usually charge connection and disconnection fees which are passed on through your gas provider. These fees vary depending on the area you live, generally ranging between $10 and $50.
If you are a concession card holder, you may be eligible for a discount on supply and usage charges as well as connection and disconnection fees.
Is there anything else I need to do?
If you are vacating a property, remember to contact your current gas provider and advise the date you are moving so that they can take a final meter read and finalise your bill. This will ensure you don’t pay extra fees and charges after you vacate.
What is bulk hot water?
Some properties, such as large apartment buildings or townhouse developments, have a bulk hot water system where water is centrally heated and supplied direct to each apartment. This water is usually heated by gas. Each individual apartment has a hot water meter and the gas company bills individual apartments directly for their hot water usage. Individual tenants do not have a choice of provider for this service as it is usually determined by the building owner or body corporate. Your gas consumption for other appliances (e.g. ovens and cooktops) will be included on the same bill (if you choose the same provider) or separately billed if you choose an alternative gas provider. Cold water consumption is billed separately by your water provider.
If you are moving into a large apartment, Foxie and your body corporate can help you determine if there is a bulk hot water agreement in place.
Where does my natural gas or LPG actually come from?
Natural gas deposits were formed hundreds of millions of years ago from decomposing microorganisms, plants and animals and are stored deep below the earth’s surface. Some of these deposits are located below land (onshore) whilst others are located under the ocean (offshore). Natural gas is extracted from these deposits, processed and distributed around Australia via a large distribution network of pipelines.
Regardless of which provider you choose, your gas will come from the same distribution network. Retailers buy gas from the distributor and on-sell it to their customers.
LPG is a mixture of flammable hydrocarbon gases including butane and propane. These gases come from both onshore and offshore oil and gas deposits. The mixed gas is liquefied under pressure, reducing its volume and allowing it to be bottled and easily transported to users.