Evoenergy has released its draft Gas Network Plan for 2021-2026, outlining how it will maintain stable gas network prices whilst continuing to work towards the ACT Government’s zero net emissions target by 2045.
The final plan will be submitted to the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) on 30 June 2020.
Evoenergy’s draft plan aims to provide customers with safe and reliable gas supply whilst minimising costs; stable network prices; a declining regulatory asset base value; simplified tariffs; and time to progress its transition roadmap for achieving zero net emissions by 2045.
Evoenergy Acting General Manager, Fiona Wright, said, “In this planning period we’ve looked closely at the ACT Government’s climate change strategy and what it means for how we operate and invest in the gas network in the short term.
“The ACT Government has said it will finalise its transition plan for the gas network by 2024 and until then, we have chosen to limit our investment in network expansion and minimise our forecast expenditure where possible. In 2021–26, we’re focused on providing the cheapest possible gas service without compromising safety and reliability.”
Evoenergy engaged with a broad range of consumers to understand their values and what they want and need from the gas network.
“Through our engagement with the community, we’ve heard that energy sustainability and affordability is front of mind, and that we need to work collaboratively to find the most efficient and cost-effective path to transition away from natural gas,” Ms Wright said.
“The ACT community has invested in the gas network and it’s clear that we need to work together to examine the options we have to repurpose it – such as a transition to hydrogen or biogas, so we can continue to maximise its potential, maintain customer choice, and keep all options open for the future.”
Evoenergy’s draft Gas Network Plan 2021-2026 aligns with the ACT Government’s initiative to remove mandatory gas connections to new suburbs, allowing them to be powered by the ACT’s 100 per cent renewable electricity supply.
Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability, Shane Rattenbury, said, “The fact is, natural gas is a polluting fossil fuel and we must eventually phase it out to reduce emissions and tackle climate change. Approximately 22 per cent of the ACT’s total greenhouse gas emissions come from natural gas.”
Evoenergy’s plan also shows that natural gas consumption has been falling in the region since 2011, and will continue to do so over the next five years.
“Buildings and neighbourhoods that are all-electric are now viable, cost-effective, and have the advantage of being able to use 100 per cent renewable electricity. They are a win for consumers and the environment,” Mr Rattenbury said.
“This is a transition we can make in a way that saves households money. New, efficient electric appliances can provide residents with savings compared to equivalent gas appliances. For example, efficient reverse cycle air conditioning can reduce household energy bills by around $500 per year compared to gas heating.”
Mr Rattenbury said that the government will support the transition away from gas through the provision of information, incentives and appropriate support.
“Evoenergy’s draft plan also predicts that the changes will deliver stable gas network charges over the plan period,” Mr Rattenbury said.
“There is further work to do on this transition, including with Evoenergy, and I’m looking forward to working with them, and the Canberra community, to achieve the natural gas phase transition in a responsible way.”
Consultation on Evoenergy’s draft plan for the gas network access arrangement 2021–26 will be open for five weeks until close of business 2 April 2020.