Would you pay $1000 to get off the gas? Consumers are annoyed by shutdown costs

The costs for this vary greatly: Age And The Sydney Morning Herald spoke to consumers who reported charges ranging from $74 to $1151.


When Alexander contacted the gas supplier, she was not told about the cheaper cap option, only the cost of removal.

A couple in Castlemaine, in central Victoria, were told it would cost $958.10 plus a $33 service charge to get rid of their gas. You have not been informed of a cheaper option.

“We’re able to pay the fee, but I feel like we’re being ripped off,” said one of the Castlemaine consumers, who asked to remain anonymous.

What these fees might look like in the future is a live topic. The Australian Energy Regulatory Authority (AER) is responsible for setting these charges and is considering how they might be recovered in the future, including whether they will continue to be billed to individual customers or spread across the network.


“Energy affordability and equity is important to the AER and it is currently reviewing… these charges and how they might be recovered in the future,” said an AER spokesman.

Rob McLeod, policy manager at sustainability organization Renew, says there is a lack of clarity for consumers.

“As gas networks enter a death spiral in the years to come, fewer and fewer people will pay the retail costs that fund the maintenance of the system,” McLeod said.

“There is a real issue of justice about who should be held accountable when people disconnect. Is it left to people with gas connection? Should it be governments? Or should it be gas companies making huge profits?”

Most customers have seen double-digit price increases on their electricity and gas contracts this year, with price increases of between 7 and 15 percent for gas across all distribution networks from June to September 2022. Major retailers such as Origin, AGL and Alinta have also announced significant price increases Gas prices for homes and small businesses from earlier this month.

“There’s a real question of justice about who should pay for when people disconnect.”

Rob McLeod

The widespread use of domestic gas is at odds with states’ commitment to net-zero carbon emissions. Victoria has committed to achieving this target by 2045, while NSW and the federal government have both committed to reaching net zero by 2050. The Victorians are the largest gas consumers in the country.

“Australians know that moving away from gas is vital to meeting our emissions reduction and renewable energy targets,” said Sarah Rogan, a spokeswoman for Environment Victoria.

A Victorian Government spokesman said it was unacceptable that some customers were being paid “excessive charges” to switch from gas to cheaper electric products.

“We look forward to Australia’s energy regulator addressing the barriers to electrification,” the spokesman said. “If necessary, we will not hesitate to take action to ensure gas suppliers charge fair prices for their services.”

A spokesman for Red Energy said the company only collects and passes on the shutdown or removal fee on behalf of the gas distribution network and that it made no money from the transaction.

Energy Networks Australia, representing gas distribution networks, was asked to comment.

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https://www.smh.com.au/environment/sustainability/would-you-pay-1000-to-get-off-gas-consumer-dismay-over-disconnection-cost-20230223-p5cmw9.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_environment Would you pay $1000 to get off the gas? Consumers are annoyed by shutdown costs

Brian Lowry

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