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Household gas bills to drop by $15 as natural gas network charges reduce by 4.9%

About 670,000 households and small businesses connected to Australian Gas Networks' (AGN) Victorian and Albury networks are set to receive reductions in their bills - on average, between $15 and $41 respectively.

This follows the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) issuing its Final Decision on AGN's Victoria and Albury Access Arrangement for the five year period commencing on 1 January 2018.

The Final Decision provides for a 4.9% cut to gas distribution charges from 1 January 2018. These charges make up about one third of the average residential bill.

The AER estimates the average flow on effect to AGN's (645,000) residential and (25,000) small business customers in Victoria and Albury will culminate in their gas bills reducing by about $15 and $41 respectively from 1 January 2018, assuming other components of the bill do not change.

AGN Chief Customer Officer, Mr Andrew Staniford said: “The reduction in the network charges will help take the pressure off household and small business gas bills.  This reduction is in addition to the $483 saving already available to an average family choosing to use gas rather than electricity in AGN's network area."

"Lower network prices provide a real incentive for households to choose gas for a range of needs, whether that be for cooking, hot water and/or heating," he said.

"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.

"Never has there been a more compelling argument to connect your house or business to natural gas and/or increase the number of gas-fueled appliances.

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% 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 Victorian where gas is available," Mr Staniford said.

"And that is being made achievable to more Victorians all the time by AGN's continual improvement and upgrade of its gas network."

Mr Staniford emphasised that now is a great time to connect to natural gas as it is free to connect where a gas main runs past the property and AGN is also offering a $500 connection bonus to offset the costs of converting.

Full details of the rebates are available on the website www.australiangasnetworks.com.au or by ringing the connection hotline 1300 001 001.

The Final Decision has been published on the AER’s website, www.aer.gov.au.

The Company is continuing to review the AER's Final Decision to assess whether we have any major concerns.

Background

AGN is Australia's largest distribution company serving over 1.2 million consumers in South Australia, Victoria, Queensland, New South Wales and the Northern Territory.

It owns approximately 25,000 kilometres of natural gas distribution networks and 1100 kilometres of transmission pipelines.

AGN, with its head office in Adelaide, operates natural gas networks in South Australia (mostly Adelaide), Victoria (mostly Melbourne) and Queensland (mostly Brisbane), as well as in smaller centres in New South Wales (Albury & Wagga Wagga) and the Northern Territory (Alice Springs).

Each year, it invests around $250 million in its networks to reach new areas, improve supply and replace old gas mains.

The Access Arrangement sets out the terms, conditions and tariffs for the provision of access to AGN’s Victoria and Albury gas distribution network from 1 January 2018 to 31 December 2022.