Coronavirus Update: We are actively monitoring the status of the Coronavirus situation and the potential impacts to our customers and our business. Our focus is to maintain the reliability of energy supply for the community and ensure our critical operations remain fully operational. Our priority is the health and well-being of our employees, contractors, service providers and customers during these challenging times. For more information on Covid-19, visit: https://www.australiangasnetworks.com.au/covid-19

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Report a fault:  1800 898 220
Report a leak:  1800 GAS LEAK
General enquiries:  1300 001 001

Australian Gas Networks – Response to COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged the entire Australian community, forcing us to change the way we work and interact with each other. Australian  Gas Networks (AGN), part of the Australian Gas Infrastructure Group (AGIG) has developed a COVID-19 response plan to address these challenges.

Our plan recognises that the supply of natural gas is an essential service. AGIG is committed to delivering safe and reliable gas services to more than 2 million customers across Australia.

 

(SA Only) Retailer Notification:  SA AGN Network  COVID-19 Lock down 19-24 November 2020

As you are aware the South Australian Government has imposed a ‘stay at home’ lock-down in South Australia from 19 – 24 November.

APA’s operations for the AGN network are an essential service to our customers and the people of South Australia to ensure we provide safe and reliable energy supply.
However, in response to the South Australian government lock-down requirements it has been necessary to cease certain field work to support restriction of movement of people within the community.

The table below details our gas infrastructure activities to cease during this lock-down period.

  • Service Connections (SCR)
  • Meter & Service Disconnections (AML & DSD)
  • Meter & Service Removals (MRM & SDR)
  • Meter and Service Alterations, Upgrade and Investigations (MAP, UMS & USR, MHA, MRT)  
  • Periodic Meter Changes (internal MCH raised by DB)  
  • MMains Replacement  

All other field work will continue as normal.

  • Emergency, Supply Faults, and Reconnections (MTN, RML) will continue ensuring customer safety and supply
  • Meter Reading activities will continue with additional  South Australian COVID safety protocols including mandatory face masks and “contactless” reading.  This means meter readers will not attempt to read a meter that requires customer assistance to read the meter including going through a customer’s house or the customer having to unlock gates, garages or carports to enable the reader to read the meter.
  • Meter Fix activities will continue with additional assessment undertaken by contacting customers to determine requirements.  In some cases this may require rescheduling the MFX for a mutually agreed time post lock-down.

All work activities are subject to change throughout the lock-down period, and normal work activities will resume following end of the lock-down period.   

If you have any questions please contact us on 1300 001 001.

 

New Help for Victorians with their energy bills

  • The Victorian Government has rolled  out a team of financial counsellors and community workers in partnership with community organisations to give targeted advice and support to Victorians who need help with their energy bills. 
  • The suite of programs involves webinars delivered by the Consumer Policy Research Centre and a tailored Energy Assistance and Brokerage Program to help people get the best value energy deal, run by a consortium which includes the Brotherhood of St Laurence, the Australian Energy Foundation and Uniting Vic.
  • The support is available online and over-the-phone (Financial counselling is available in languages including Arabic, Mandarin, Hindi and Vietnamese). For support, please call 1800 830 029, and live webinars to help households manage their energy costs can be accessed at energyinfohub.org.au
  • Please contact your gas retailer for any other financial assistance that may be available also.  

 

Customer Initiatives

Our plan focuses on assisting our customers and local communities.

We are implementing a network relief package -  this package includes supporting energy retailers by either rebating or deferring network charges to eligible residential customers who go on payment plans or hardship arrangements as a result of COVID-19 for the period 1 April to 30 June, and providing tariff relief to eligible small business customers who experience financial stress, or temporarily close, as a result of COVID-19 for the period 1 April to 30 June.

For further details on the energy network relief package, please see link https://www.energynetworks.com.au/miscellaneous/covid-19-electricity-and-gas-network-relief-package/

Customers who have been impacted by COVID-19 should contact their energy retailer to determine what type of financial assistance may be available.

 

Gas Disconnections – Australian Gas Networks

South Australia, Queensland and New South Wales (only)

On 30 October 2020, the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) released their updated Statement of Expectations of energy businesses (Statement). This Statement sets out important steps the AER expects energy businesses to undertake from 1 November 2020 to protect customers and the market as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, noting these requirements will be in place until at least 31 March 2021 (and potentially beyond that date).

This statement specifically states energy businesses (retailers and distributors) “do not disconnect – other than at their request: 
- any residential customer who may be in financial  stress who: 
                       1.  is in contact with retailers in relation to their debt; or
                       2. is accessing any retailer support.”
- any or small business customer who continues to adhere to a payment plan or other agreed payment arrangement 

- a body corporate or other large business customer who is on-selling energy to residential and small business customers who may be in financial  stress and who: 

                 1. has made contact with retailers or responded to communications from retailers; or
                 2. is accessing any retailer support.”
We have been in contact with retailers who have advised us they do not make decisions to disconnect customers lightly and disconnections are used only a last resort, particularly during the current pandemic. They have confirmed before making any disconnection request to us they will have been in direct contact with the customer, or made all reasonable efforts where they do not have customer details for the site.

However, to meet our obligations as a responsible distributor, we have required retailers to provide statements to us to confirm any disconnection requests have met the AER expectations.
If we consider we are been able to meet our obligations under the Statement we will cancel the disconnection request.
Further, where we attend a site to complete the disconnection and a customer advises they have:

  • not requested the disconnection; and
  • they are in communication with the retailer in relation to their debt; or
  • accessing retailer support; or
  • a small business adhering to a payment plan or other agreed payment arrangement;

  • We will cancel the disconnection request and advise the retailer accordingly. 

    Please note that network disconnections for safety will still continue where applicable.

    If you are isolating or quarantining as a result of the coronavirus please advise our staff.

    Victoria

    In Victoria, and the Essential Service Commission has issued directions in relation to disconnections, (effective from1 November 2020  – 31 March 2021 and potentially beyond). 
    This direction specifically states “Retailers and distributors should not take steps to disconnect residential or small business customers who are engaging with their retailer. “Engaging” means a customer who:
    - is receiving assistance under the payment difficulty framework (or any other retailer assistance) (both residential and small business); or
    - has contacted their retailer about their electricity or gas service; or
    - has responded to communications from their retailer about their electricity or gas service”

    “A distributor or retailer who becomes aware that a residential customer is isolating or quarantining as a result of the coronavirus must not take steps to disconnect the customer”

    If we consider we are not been able to meet our obligations under the direction we will cancel the disconnection request.
    Further, where we attend a site to complete the disconnection and a customer advises they have:

    not requested the disconnection; and
    they are in communication with the retailer in relation to their gas service; or
    receiving assistance under the payment difficultly framework; or 
    have not received a gas bill from their retailer issued on or after 1 November 2020; or
    is isolating or quarantining as a result of the coronavirus

    We will cancel the disconnection request and advise the retailer accordingly.
    Please note that network disconnections for safety will still continue where applicable.

     

     

    Our work environment

    We have enacted a series of measures as part of our response plan across the Group to maintain a safe and healthy work environment. These include:

    Operations

    Our operational focus is to safely maintain the reliability of gas supply for our customers and the broader community. This service has not been impacted by COVID-19. 

     

    Faults and Emergencies

    Our faults or emergency service has not been impacted by COVID-19. If customers experience any gas faults or emergencies, please call on - 1800 427 532 (24 hours). 

     

    Customer Enquiries

    Our Customer Enquiries centre can be contacted on 1300 001 001 (business hours). Whilst this call centre is operating normally, we do encourage customers to email your query to networkscustrela@apa.com.au.  Email enquiries are being responded in a timely manner during business hours.

     

    Meter Reading

    Meter Reading activities are continuing and all Field Staff are following strict hygiene and physical distancing. Meter Readers are not to enter the home of any of our customers. All works related to entry have ceased. Meter Readers who encounter members of the public are to ensure they practice social distancing techniques – maintaining a minimum of 1.5m distance, no physical contact (i.e. shaking hands).

    AGN acknowledges that the COVID-19 situation will remain highly fluid for some time yet.  We will continually update this information on our website as circumstances change.