South Australian household gas bills are set to reduce following a decision by the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) on Australian Gas Networks’ (AGN) South Australian Access Arrangement for the next five years.

The AER estimates the average flow on effect to AGN’s (425,000) residential and (10,000) small business customers will culminate in their gas bills dropping by about $144 and $750 per annum respectively from 1 July 2016, assuming other components of the bill do not change.

The final decision provides a 23 per cent cut to gas distribution charges and will come into effect 1 July. These charges make up about half the average residential bill.

AGN Chief Operating Officer Andrew Staniford said, “The reduction in the network charges will take the pressure off household and small business gas bills.

“The price drop will significantly improve the affordability of natural gas and will be a boon for South Australia.

“Lower network prices provide a real incentive for households to choose gas for cooking, hot water and heating.

“Further, natural gas can also be used for outdoor kitchens, barbeques and patio heating. You can even install a natural gas powered air conditioner.

“Gas charges per unit of energy consumed become cheaper as you install more gas appliances in your home. One smart and cost-effective strategy to make your household budget go further is to choose gas.”

Mr Staniford said households and small businesses switching to gas was also good for the environment.

He said burning gas directly in a home reduced emissions by up to 85 per cent compared to using electricity produced from coal.

“The improved affordability of gas combined with its environmental advantages makes natural gas a compelling proposition for every South Australian where gas is available,” Mr Staniford said.

“And that is being made achievable to more South Australians all the time by AGN’s continual improvement and upgrade of its gas network.”

AGN recently announced it had invested $6million to build a new pipeline to supply natural gas to the McLaren Vale region for the first time.

It has also recently funded a significant $6million upgrade to the Seaford Aldinga high pressure network – the main gas pipeline supplying Adelaide’s southern coastal region including Seaford, Aldinga and Seaford Meadows – to improve/increase gas supplies to thousands of homes and businesses in the region.

Mr Staniford said AGN’s network expansion plans were set to continue with the AER decision also approving the Company’s plan to grow and extend its natural gas network.

“The AER decision provides for the connection of an additional 34,000 customers over the next five years,” Mr Staniford said.

“This expansion builds on the decisions already taken by the Company to take gas to Tanunda, McLaren Vale and Buckland Park.

“The extensions will provide more South Australians than ever before with access to affordable, clean natural gas.”

Mr Staniford emphasised that now is a great time to connect to natural gas or convert to gas as AGN is offering rebates of up to $1,500 to offset the costs of converting.

The Energy Networks Association (ENA) welcomed the reductions in gas network charges for customers with the release of the Australian Energy Regulator’s (AER) final decision on access arrangements for gas distributors in those jurisdictions.

ENA Chief Executive Officer, John Bradley, said the gas network decisions highlighted a bright future for natural gas.

“The reductions in gas network prices for households and small businesses is welcome, given our homes and businesses rely on gas for cost-effective, low emission and convenient hot water heating, space heating and cooking,” Mr Bradley said.

View the final decision on the AER’s website www.aer.gov.au.

Jessica Dickers is an experienced journalist, editor and content creator who is currently the Editor of Utility’s sister publication, Infrastructure. With a strong writing background, Jessica has experience in journalism, editing, print production, content marketing, event program creation, PR and editorial management. Her favourite part of her role as editor is collaborating with the sector to put together the best industry-leading content for the audience.

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