The East Coast Region includes Queensland, Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory.
The Western Region includes Western Australia.
The Northern Region includes the Northern Territory.
What is natural gas?
Natural gas is generated from organic matter that was initially plants or animals that had been buried. Through heat and pressure forces over hundreds of millions of years, these organic chemicals were compressed to form inorganic fuels. This is where the name "fossil fuel" comes from, it's literally a type of fossil.
About half of Australian homes rely on natural gas as a source of energy. These are predominantly in Victoria, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory. The gas we use mostly consists of methane, which is colourless and odourless. If you've ever smelled gas in your home, that smell is actually added to make it easier to detect.
Natural gas releases about half of the carbon that burning coal releases. However, it isn't as good for the environment as solar, wind or hydroelectric. If the environment is your number one concern, check out our comprehensive guide to going solar.
Gas options by state
Whether or not you have a choice in your gas retailer depends on where you live. For more information on energy options where you live, click on your state:
If your home isn't already connected to a natural gas pipeline, you can request a connection through your chosen gas supplier. Keep in mind, installation can be costly and might not be possible if your property isn't within range of a gas main.
Check if gas is available for your home by asking your energy retailer. If it is, you can lodge a new connection request.
Your gas provider will arrange to connect your home to the pipeline.
Buy gas appliances and have them installed and connected to your new gas system.
Arrange to have a gas meter installed through your retailer.
How to compare gas providers
There are many things to consider when selecting a new gas provider and plan, including charges, discounts and fees. The better informed you are, the better equipped you'll be when it comes to choosing the best plan for you.
There are two basic types of gas charges: the fixed charge and the usage charge.
The fixed charge is a daily amount you get charged by the supplier for providing the gas to your home or business. It's agreed on before you sign the contract and doesn't vary depending on use.
The usage charge is added on top of the fixed charge for how much gas you use. This is calculated in cents per megajoule (c/MJ). There are several types of usage charges, depending on your gas plan. Potential usage charges include the following:
Single rate. This is charged at a single rate for usage no matter what time of day it is used.
Off-peak rate. This charges different rates for peak and off-peak usage, typically day and overnight.
Block rate. Usage is divided into blocks and you're only charged for the number of blocks you use.
Many retailers offer discounts for paying your bill on time or for using direct debits. If you also need electricity services, you might be able to save by bundling your gas and electricity plans.
Establishment fee. Some providers charge a fee to new customers for setting up the service.
Termination fee. An early termination fee or exit fee applies if you cancel your plan before the end of your contract.
Processing fee. A processing fee or payment fee often applies for credit card payments. IF you prefer to pay by credit card, check to see if you'll have to pay an additional fee.
Late payment fee. A late fee applies if you miss a payment or pay your bill past the due date.
Some retailers provide their customers with bonus incentives such as frequent flyer points or discounts at stores.
How to switch gas providers
Compare gas providers in your state to find a plan and a price that works for you. Next, transfer your gas from your existing company to your new company. This can usually be done online in a matter of minutes.
The gas will still be supplied to your home exactly the same, so there will be no down period or need for re-installation or anything else. All that happens is your account is transferred from one company to another.
Once you've compared providers, checked out the prices and picked the plan that offers what you want, you can switch to your new energy provider.
You'll need a few bits of basic information in order to get an accurate quote. Make sure you have the following:
Your postcode or suburb
Details of your current provider
A copy of your latest bill
It's worth having a few old bills on hand so you can get a full understanding of how you use your gas supply at different times during the year.
Frequently asked questions about gas in Australia
A gas provider or retailer is a company that buys gas from an energy distributor and sells it to customers. When you switch gas providers, your distributor still stays the same so you won't lose power during the transition.
If you're unable to pay your bill or are entering a situation when you soon won't be able to pay your bill, then get in touch with your retailer as early as possible. Your retailer may be able to give you an extension or set up a personalised payment plan that takes your financial situation into account.
Common problems customers have with their gas bills include the meter being incorrect or the meter being read incorrectly. The first step to rectifying an issue is to contact your provider directly. If you're unable to resolve your issue, contact your state energy ombudsman.
Natural gas can be dangerous if there's a leak since it's flammable. Natural gas has chemicals artificially added to give it an odour so you can detect a leak.
LPG comes pre-bottled, whereas natural gas comes connected to a pipeline network. Natural gas usually doesn't require large tanks sitting next to the house and is generally cheaper than LPG. LPG is typically used for BBQs or for households that can't be connected to a pipeline.
Bluegen is a way of converting natural gas into electricity. The converters are suitable for homes and business, are quiet and the size of a washing machine, but relatively expensive.
Sarah Brandon is a senior writer at Finder. She has a degree in Psychology from New York University and loves learning about why people do what they do. Sarah has researched and written about a wide range of topics, from pool fences to private jets to personal loans. But no matter the subject, her number one priority is figuring out what information our readers need to make the best decisions.
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