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Australia - Gas
New South Wales is a deregulated state and you can choose from a number of suppliers. These include AGL, Country Energy, TRUenergy and Energy Australia. Queensland is a deregulated state and gives consumers a choice from the likes of AGL, Australia Power & Gas and Origin Energy. Victoria is a deregulated state and has several suppliers to choose from such as AGL, Simply Energy, TRUenergy and Neighbourhood Energy. ACT, the Northern Territory, Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania are not deregulated and you do not have a choice about your gas supplier, although there may be more than one company which serves the state. They will be limited to the areas they can cover within the state so not more than one company will provide gas services to the same town.
The number of consumers that use gas as an energy source in Australia grows each year with around 4 million residential customers at the current time. The state of Western Australia has one of the highest rates of consumption, followed by Victoria and New South Wales and local governments have a number of incentives in place to promote greener forms of energy.
In order to be connected to gas services you simply need to call the company that you have chosen or that covers your area. Some companies allow you to sign up online and you are sent out any relevant paperwork to be completed. You may need to provide a certain amount of documentation including proof of ID, proof of address and as an expat you may be asked to provide proof of your visa status. If you are moving into a new build property it can take 20 days for the gas supply to be connected although it is usually much quicker for other types of properties.
If you suspect that there is a gas leak then you should turn off the gas supply at your meter and call either a gas technician or the managing agent for your property if you are renting. If you suspect that the meter itself is the problem then you should call the emergency contact number for the company which supplies your gas. These departments are manned 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
Gas meters are read regularly at intervals of several months. The bills are set out so that they can be read easily and will contain a summary of your usage. If you receive an estimated bill then you usually have the option to provide a meter reading so that you can have an accurate bill. The bills are set out in a similar way to those that are issued in the UK. Consumers have a number of payment options for their gas bill. Most companies have a direct debit system which is easier for most people. Online payments are now quite common and you can often pay over the counter at a bank or post office. For debit or credit card payments you can usually call the customer service department of the supplier and pay over the phone. Payment requirements will vary from company to company and the ways in which you can pay will be detailed on the back of the bill.
In some smaller towns and remote areas mains gas is not available but you are able to use gas appliances by making use of bottled gas. There are suppliers of bottled gas all over the country so a lack of mains gas should not be a problem.
Gas fitters in Australia must hold a permit or licence issued by the state that they are working in. These permits are only given to those who are qualified and have completed the necessary training. You should not hire a gas fitter that does not have a licence and if you request to see the documentation the fitter is obliged to produce it. There are safety standards on all gas appliances and retailers are not permitted to sell items which do not meet the required standard.
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