Breaking up: How to disconnect from gas completely
Navigating the differing requirements and costs of disconnecting from gas at home is varied and can be circumstantial
You can elect to either abolish or disconnect gas from your property, but the costs will differ for each, and across every provider and state
Tighter regulation of the fee schedules for utilities to pass onto consumers is currently under review
Congratulations, your last gas appliance has been replaced and you are ready to disconnect but don’t know what to do next. There are a few variables, namely the state you live in and the distributor, a little on your retailer—and there could be an ‘X factor’ of how you approach it. At this stage, quitting gas is not as easy as it should be, particularly for households already connected to the network.
Generally, retailers are set up to compete for your switching business. Distributors are set up to connect new customers. The experience of dealing with a customer who wishes to disconnect, while not unheard of, is uncommon, and this is changing too.
First things first
When you no longer require gas to be connected to your home or property, you should contact your retailer. Your retailer could pass on some fees from the distributor in the final account.
If you no longer require a gas connection at your home, it is essential that you arrange for a permanent disconnection to ensure the existing connection is fully abolished, and your premises is safe. A permanent disconnection also means your premises no longer requires maintenance or routine checking and testing.
Disconnection Vs Abolishment
There are two pathways for disconnecting your gas supply, and they come with differing, and sometimes unregulated, fees and logistical complications. Some distributors say they will ask for enough information from the customer so they can determine the appropriate disconnection method.
Disconnection means the connection to the mains supply is severed and capped. The first option for cease of service is to either cap supply at the meter (a temporary disconnection that can be reversed by removing the cap later) or to have the meter itself removed while connecting pipes are retained.
- A disconnection can be requested when your gas supply is not being used – for example a vacant property or property with no gas appliances;
- You will still have an active, pressurised gas line on your property;
- Disconnection is usually expected to be temporary, and gas can be reconnected at any time;
- The gas distributor must still maintain and check your meter periodically;
- The cost of maintaining your service will be distributed to all other gas consumers connected to the network;
- You may continue to receive letters from you gas retailer requesting you sign up.
Connection abolishment involves removal of pipes connecting a customer’s premises to the mains pipeline, sealing the mains, and making the site safe. It involves more work than the disconnection process, such as digging up the connection point to cut the service line from the gas main, evacuating gas and removing the meter safely. The process requires at least two people onsite, may require traffic management, site restoration works and between up to two hours of work.
- Abolishment means the meter is physically removed from the property;
- There will no longer be an active pressurised gas line servicing your property which is the safest option;
- Removes the risk of the gas meter failing and leaking gas from any onsite excavation;
- There are no ongoing service or maintenance charges;
- Only homeowners, or their representatives, can request an abolishment.
There are fee schedules for each state, and they can vary according to region and proximity. This will be determined by where you are and the distance between your house and the mains connection.
It could be a lot of work for the distributor to remove the meter and the pipes back to the street. It could be a lot of disturbance to the householders too. In some cases, it may be easier to stop getting gas bills by simply finalising your account with your retailer instead of moving towards full abolishment.
Currently there is a push for consumers to not receive the network fees passed on by the retailers. As more customers choose to move from gas to other sources of energy, the costs of removing connection assets for individual premises—abolishing the connection permanently— have come under scrutiny. The abolishment service currently reflects the labour cost of staff attending the customer’s premises to perform the task. It does not incorporate any contribution to shared network cost recovery – it is not an exit fee.
Federal regulation of gas abolishment and disconnection fees is currently being determined.