Regional Gas Infrastructure program
The Regional Gas Infrastructure Program aims to supply reticulated natural gas to communities across regional and rural Victoria.
Objectives of Program
The Energy for the Regions program commenced in 2011 to supply reticulated natural gas to communities across regional and rural Victoria.
At the time, many regional Victorian residents and businesses were paying up to 30 per cent more for LPG than customers connected to reticulated natural gas.
The program was established to provide the necessary infrastructure to connect regional Victorians to reticulated natural gas to reduce their expenses. It had three broad initiatives:
- To enable the delivery of natural gas to 18 regional towns, including: Avoca, Bannockburn, Heathcote, Huntly, Invermay, Koo Wee Rup, Lakes Entrance, Maldon, Marong, Orbost, Terang, Warburton, Wandong–Heathcote Junction, Winchelsea, Swan Hill, Nathalia, Kerang and Robinvale;
- To invest in a major upgrade of Mildura’s natural gas supply capacity; and
- To invest up to $1 million to fund a feasibility study on the provision of natural gas to Victorian communities along the Murray River.
The Mildura natural gas supply capacity project was completed in August 2015, doubling the supply capacity in Mildura and connecting new residential and industrial customers.
The Murray River feasibility study was completed in in 2012.
Of the 18 regional gas projects, 17 have been completed and are now in their operational phase, whereby gas distributors continue to connect customers to the network
The town of Invermay will not be connected due to a condition in the contract between the Victorian Government and the delivery partner, Brookfield, not being met.
The contract stipulates that the connection of Invermay was subject to Brookfield signing up commercial customers across their delivery towns to reach a total load of 65 terajoules.
This condition was designed to offset the costs of delivering major infrastructure to a town with a small population, which would only have a limited number of customers.The Victorian Government worked with Brookfield to undertake an extensive marketing program and conduct industry forums to attract commercial customers, however due to challenging market conditions, it has been unable to reach the target stipulated in the contract.
The program is now fully committed.