Winchelsea in southern Victoria has connected to the state’s main gas supply following the commissioning of AusNet Services’ new underground gas network, giving the town’s homes and businesses a cost-effective and convenient energy supply.

AusNet Services began construction to extend its underground gas pipeline into Winchelsea in 2014.

With commissioning now complete, AusNet Services’ Manager Gas Networks, Elias Raffoul, said residents wishing to connect to the natural gas network should act now to be early recipients of natural gas.

“We estimate that more than 600 Winchelsea residents and businesses now have access to natural gas.

“By connecting, they can enjoy the benefits of natural gas for cooking, heating and hot water systems, replacing the need to use bottled gas, electricity, and firewood,” Mr Raffoul said.

Local resident Sue Clissold, the first to be connected to the gas supply, said she had arranged to include gas pipes when building her new house.

“Mains gas is cheaper and cleaner, so it made sense to prepare for its arrival in Winchelsea when we built

“It’s early days, but I love the convenience and flexibility of natural gas,” Mr Clissold said.

Mr Raffoul thanked the local community for accommodating AusNet Services’ crews while the network was constructed.

“We’ve done it safely, without incident, and minimising disruption as much as we could,” Mr Raffoul said.

Before gas can be used, a service pipe from the street to the house and any internal pipes must be installed, and a gas meter fitted.

AusNet Services’ has detailed information on its website for consumers wanting to connect to the gas network.

“We thank the state government for helping bring natural gas to Winchelsea through the Energy for the Regions and the Regional Gas Infrastructure programs and we look forward to connecting more Victorians to natural gas,” Mr Raffoul said.

In the last five years, AusNet Services has extended the natural gas network in western Victoria to more than 92,000 homes and businesses, expecting to invest more than $500 million in the gas network over the next five years.

Under past state government natural gas extension programs, AusNet Services connected gas to 12 Victorians towns: Barwon Heads, Camperdown, Creswick, Gisborne, Lancefield, Macedon, Maiden Gully, New Gisborne, Port Fairy, Riddells Creek, Romsey and Woodend.

Winchelsea joins Huntly as the second of four towns to be connected to the main Victorian natural gas grid under the current program.

Avoca and Bannockburn are also expected to be connected early in 2017.

Utility Journalist

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