Natural gas is quickly becoming recognised as the most cost effective and easy option for heating, hot water and cooking in homes around Australia. When you’re looking to install natural gas in a new home, there are a few important pointers you can’t afford to ignore.
While the connection process does vary across states, its starting point remains in the hands of you – the builder.
The process of requesting and installing a new gas connection can be separated into five steps:
- Check whether there is gas available for the property. You can do this first by calling the New Connections Line on 1300 001 001, or by calling Dial Before You Dig. Since it’s possible gas mains don’t run down the entire length of some streets, the property won’t necessarily have access even if next door does.
- As the builder, you lodge a new service connection request for natural gas. In Victoria and NSW, this is via an energy retailer of your choice (i.e. AGL Energy, Energy Australia, Origin Energy, Red Energy, or Momentum Energy). In South Australia and Queensland, you can do this via the New Connections Line, or by registering to use our Online Connections Portal to submit requests 24/7.
- When this request is received, it’ll be submitted to the APA Group, who will evaluate the request and schedule installation of an inlet service.
- If there is no cost to the connection and no mains extension is required, the inlet connection is generally completed within 20 business days (this timeframe might vary depending on site readiness and weather conditions). If there is a charge, the energy retailer or the APA Group (depending on your state) will notify you so that you can then notify the customer. Costs must be agreed and paid before work on the inlet begins.
- Once the inlet is done, you need a gas meter installed to finish off the new connection. In Victoria, your customer should arrange this via their preferred energy retailer, but if you’re building in SA, QLD, or NSW, it’s up to you to get this organised (also via an energy retailer). The meter installation should be booked at least two business days in advance. Once it’s installed, you can complete the outlet service and install the appliances.
There are a few things to consider when requesting and installing a new gas line. Awareness of the below will ensure the process goes ahead without delays, extra costs or frustration.
Early bird gets the worm
Submit your new connection request as early as possible. It’s best to do this at the very beginning of the building process (at ‘land’ or ‘slab’ stage). This means you won’t run the risk of running into problems if the property is then bricked or roofed, or is at ‘lockup’ stage. If the property is on a main road with high traffic, make sure to lodge the request even sooner as this kind of situation might require extra traffic control or permits.
Address the matter
When requesting both your inlet and meter fix, make sure you provide address details that are as accurate as possible. If they’re not, this could delay an APA contractor from receiving the job, possibly extending timelines. Getting accurate address details for the property may mean referring to government land maps or requesting a Certificate of Title for the property.
Clear the decks
To keep things on track, make sure the site conditions meet the distributor’s requirements:
- Clear the site of rubbish and debris
- Remove any obstructions
- Clear access to the meter box (if relevant)
- Unlock the gates
- Clearly label the site with the correct address
- Arrange to have the old gas line and meter removed (if applicable – this should be done before you request the connection)
If the site conditions aren’t sufficient for your installation then this can delay the time it takes to complete an inlet, therefore delaying the process as a whole.
Look to the future
When submitting a request for a natural gas connection, you’ll be required to nominate the appliances that’ll be installed in the house once the build is complete. By being as accurate as possible, as well as looking ahead and factoring in potential future appliances, you can prevent your customers from having to pay extra down the line for a gas meter upgrade, if a bigger gas meter should have been installed from the get go.
Setting up a new gas connection needn’t be a complicated process. By doing your homework on state specifications and the details required, installation is easy.