South Australia gas price cut and $580m in new network investment
An upfront price cut of 7% from 1 July next year has been proposed for the 460,000 customers across South Australia’s natural gas distribution network.
In addition, around $580 million in new investment across the South Australian network will be spent over the next five years – including to replace a further 860 kilometres of gas piping and connecting gas to 39,000 residential, business and industrial customers.
Gas network charges make up about a half of the average residential gas bill in South Australia.
The savings – worth on average $34 per residential customer per year - and new investment, were announced recently by Australian Gas Networks (AGN) – part of the Australian Gas Infrastructure Group (AGIG) – in submitting its Final Plan to the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) for the South Australian gas distribution network for the 2021/22 to 2025/26 Access Arrangement (AA) period.
AGIG’s CEO, Mr Ben Wilson, said the Final Plan had been informed by extensive customer and stakeholder engagement. “We held more than 20 workshops with our customers to develop our plan, including feedback from residential and business customers in metropolitan and regional areas served by our network, and with culturally and linguistically diverse customers and communities.
“A continued focus on renewable gas in the network is also a Final Plan priority. We are planning to blend renewable gas into our networks, with these low carbon initiatives being strongly supported by our customers. The network currently services the Adelaide metropolitan area, Mount Gambier, Port Pirie, Whyalla and the Riverland. We are also looking to extend the network to the rapidly expanding Mount Barker region of the Adelaide Hills.
“Price, affordability and supply reliability remain the top priorities for our customers, made all the more important given the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on many customers,” Mr Wilson said.
“The pandemic has had a significant economic and social impact for many South Australians and therefore it is more important than ever that AGN’s Final Plan for the next five year period delivers network price relief,” he said.
“These cuts mean that customers will be paying around 20% less (before inflation) in 2025/26 than what customers paid in 2015/16.”
Customers and stakeholders were consulted throughout development of our Final Plan and their feedback has shaped our submission to the Australian Energy Regulator (AER). Customer support includes backing AGN’s measures to reduce carbon emissions across its network while preparing the network for the transition to renewable gases such as hydrogen.
It has been a strong performance by AGN in the current five year period, with the Company connecting a further 40,000 new customers; 93% of Emergency calls being answered within 30 seconds, with an average time to answer calls of 8.4 seconds; responding to 99% of publicly reported leaks within 2 hours; achieved exceptional reliability equivalent to one hour off supply every 40 years on average; and replaced 1,000km of gas mains since 2016.
“We will continue to maintain a high level of community safety and reliability, sustaining our strong record of customer service and keeping our costs low whilst investing for the future,” Mr Wilson said.
“The new investment in our plan will also include the removal of all AGN’s old cast iron mains, which is a significant safety milestone for our customers and the Company, the wider use of digital channels to improve customer communications and investing in a vulnerable customer assistance program including prioritising services for this group.”
AGN expects a Draft Decision from the AER later this year.
AGN owns gas distribution networks across Australia, including networks in South Australia, Victoria and Queensland as well as Wagga Wagga and Albury in regional NSW. AGN delivers gas to around 1.3 million homes and businesses.
Australian Gas Infrastructure Group (AGIG) has more than 2 million customers across every mainland state and the Northern Territory, 34,600km of gas distribution networks, more than 4,400km of gas transmission pipelines, 60 petajoules of gas storage capacity and remote power generation. AGIG’s vision is to be the leading gas infrastructure business in Australia - by delivering for customers, being a good employer, and being sustainably cost efficient.
In 2017, Australian Gas Networks (AGN), Dampier to Bunbury Pipeline (DBP) and Multinet Gas Networks (MGN) came together to form AGIG. The combined distribution, transmission and storage assets make AGIG one of the largest gas infrastructure businesses in Australia.
For further information contact
Craig de Laine, General Manager, People and Strategy, AGIG, M (0403 309 940) T +61 8 8418 1129
Andrew Staniford, Chief Customer Officer, AGIG, T (08) 8418 1125 M (0438 897 174)