Big changes are proposed to make the Victorian gas pipeline system harder to connect to, easier to disconnect from and make distribution companies more accountable. MAKE AN EASY SUBMISSION BEFORE 5PM THURSDAY 21 DECEMBER!
The Essential Services Commission (ESC) wants public feedback on their draft Gas Distributors Code of Practice – this week!
This is the end of a long process of submissions on how gas distributors should operate, be regulated and how they should meet the energy needs of Victoria and the population as a whole.
Following a comprehensive consultation process in which a number of groups and individuals wrote submissions, including us at Friends of the Earth Melbourne, the ESC is asking for feedback on 3 options that they have defined as workable.
They are asking for input from the public to help them determine which is the best option. These are best summarised as:
Option 1: Worse climate impact, lower standards required of the gas distribution companies
Option 2: Better climate impact, higher standards required of the gas distribution companies
Option 3: A hybrid of the above two options
Please write a submission saying that you support option 2 before COB Thursday 21 December!
The gas industry is in a tailspin right now. They are spending bucketloads on pro-gas advertising, they are trolling social media to throw shade on efforts to reduce and replace gas use and their lobbyists are hammering politicians in every Parliament in Australia. It is critical that everyone who understands that there is no place for gas in a zero carbon energy future makes their voices heard now.
MAKING A SUBMISSION COULDN'T BE MORE EASY
- Click this link in a new tab to go to the Engage Victoria webform
- Click "yes" on every question except the last question where we recommend clicking "no"
- For the second (or last, either is fine) question simply say that you prefer option 2 because it's better for climate and energy customers.
- Please do this now and tell your likeminded friends. These reforms will have a massive impact on how gas is connected and used in Victoria and how breaches by distribution companies are penalised.
Thanks for being fantastic at this most crucial time for the climate!
Want more information about all this?
Included in the draft decision are several measures that the No More Gas campaign has advocated for over the past year or more. Measures like:
Imposing the full cost of gas connection and disconnection at point of connection from 1 January 2025. Unlike water and electricity connections, it is currently generally free to connect to gas. For years connection costs have been waived with all the expense lumped on the energy user at point of disconnection. This creates a perverse incentive to hook up to gas and never ever leave. This new reform will create a financial barrier to connect to gas and with disconnection costs capped at $220, make it easier than ever to cut off the connection. We love it.
Imposing civil penalties against distribution companies for breaches and reporting failures. These breaches include leaking more than the permitted ~4% of gas from the distribution system or failing to report such leakage. It means that gas companies will be more meaningfully penalised for leaking gas into our troubled climate. This is not before time, and we are very pleased to see this included in the draft code.
Clarifying the difference between disconnection and abolishment. Some of our supporters have reported that when they’ve asked to disconnect from the gas system – a simple matter of shutting down their account and capping their meter – they’ve been quoted for full abolishment, requiring full removal of the meter and the pipe to the street. The first one is reasonably affordable, the second can be prohibitively expensive and as much as ten times the cost of disconnection. In obfuscating the difference, distribution companies scare people from disconnecting. This new measure will mean that distribution companies are not able to fool people into staying connected to gas.
Distribution publishing the number of new connections and disconnections prominently on their websites. This will encourage others thinking about getting off gas to know that they’re not alone.
There are several other measures included in the draft Code of Practice and we encourage anyone interested in the detail to have a read.