Distributors maintain the network, while providers sell and bill the gas and electricity plans. If you already have a business gas plan, your distributor’s contact information is generally listed on your natural gas bills, usually in case of an issue with your gas supply.
You can check out our guide on reading energy bills to learn more.
If you don’t currently have a gas plan and want to find out who the distributor is in your area, we’ll be able to tell you based on the postcode you entered when comparing energy plans for your small business with our free online comparison service.
If you’re unsure whether there’s an existing gas supply at your business address, you can check online with your distributor by visiting their website and entering your address, or by emailing or calling them.
If you’re a new customer wanting a gas connection, contact your gas provider to arrange the new connection with your distributor. If you’re eligible for a gas connection but your business isn’t already connected to the pipeline, you can get a service line installed. There may be costs involved, and the distributor will carry out the installation and connection work.
As with your electricity meter, you’ll need to apply with your provider first. There are two types of gas meter installations:
Keep in mind that a service line installation can take up to 5 to 30 business days (or as long as 8 weeks in Western Australia), while meter-only installations may only take up to 3 business days.
If you’re moving to a new location, you need to tell your provider in advance about the move so they can check for an existing gas connection or, if not, whether the building can be connected to gas. If gas is available, let them know what date you wish to move in ahead of time. Allow at least three business days before you move for your gas to get connected.
Although Tasmania and the Western Australia currently don’t have incentives for small businesses to increase their energy efficiency, many other states and territories do:
Australian Capital Territory (ACT)
Small businesses operating in the ACT who pay $25,000 or less for electricity per year, and employ no more than 20 staff are eligible for a rebate through the Business Energy and Water Program.2 The ACT Government will cover half the cost of energy and water efficient appliances and technologies (i.e. insulation, lighting, heating and cooling) up to $5,000.
If you’re moving to or your business is currently situated in Victoria, your business may be eligible for the Victorian Energy Upgrades (VEU) program.3 This program gives business discounts to energy-efficient electric and gas appliances and services, benefiting businesses of all sizes.
New South Wales (NSW)
In NSW, the Energy Savings Scheme provides incentives for office buildings to improve their NABERS energy rating, although any assistance is specific to your site and can vary.4 Part of this program can provide subsidies for the purchasing of energy efficient LED lights and their installation.
South Australia (SA)
For businesses and households, South Australia has the Retailer Energy Productivity Scheme (REPS) to encourage energy saving.5 Energy customers in SA can access REPS by contacting any obliged retailers (regardless of which retailer they’re with) or contacting the activity providers. Activities may include the purchasing or installation of energy efficient appliances, water heating, lighting and more.
The PeakSmart air conditioning program allows for rebates for customers with either Energex or Ergon Energy as their distributor when purchasing an air conditioner or converting their current one to PeakSmart.6 Queensland also has the ecoBiz support program to assist businesses with saving money on their energy, water and waste bills.7
Northern Territory (NT)
Depending on your eligibility, if you have a business if the Northern Territory you may be able to get advice on being energy efficient as well as grants for efficiency improvements and renewable energy systems.8 The purpose of the Smarter Business Solutions program is to reduce day-to-day energy, waste and materials costs for businesses in NT.
In most Australian states, you don’t need to be present on connection day unless your meter is:
In these cases, you can either be there on the day or authorise a person aged 18 and above to be present on your behalf.
Your distributor may charge you a fee and bill it to your energy provider, which they will likely add to your next bill. Refer to your energy offer summary to check whether you’re responsible for this fee.
Your typical natural gas bill lists your account details, the amount due and the payment due date on the front page, and includes the payment slip at the bottom. The back page of the bill normally shows your next scheduled meter reading and lists your tariff type, usage and supply details, energy charges (including and excluding GST) and your payment options.
You can find the full guide on how to read your energy bills here.
If you feel that you’ve been incorrectly billed or want to check a current meter reading, call your energy provider. They’ll arrange a special meter reading at your business premises. If it turns out you were correctly billed, your provider may charge you a fee for this meter reading.
Sometimes, you may receive an estimated gas or electricity bill, which will be based on your previous energy usage. Generally, this happens if the meter was unable to be read or the meter reader didn’t share the information with your provider. If this is the case, you should contact your provider for options.
The eligibility of being able to claim depends on the nature of your business and how you use energy at your premises. Because all small to medium-sized businesses operate differently, it’s worth reading the relevant information from the Australian Taxation Office.
If you run a business from your home, you’ll need to calculate the energy expenses related to your home office. Make sure you store a copy of each business energy bill for taxation purposes.
If your business uses liquid petroleum gas (LPG), you’ll have one or more pressurised containers, bottles or storage tanks somewhere on the property that are connected to the building. They feed gas directly to the appliances that need it, but once they run out or get low, you’ll need to contact your provider and have them refilled.
On the other hand, natural gas is fed through a gas line under the ground and is part of a wider network. Appliances are connected to it via pipes in the building.
A common example of how a business may use LPG is in mobile outdoor heaters, as they need their own bottle and they can’t be connected to pipes. LPG bottles can also come in a range of sizes to suit different needs, including storage tanks over 100 or 200 kilograms in size.
Just like electricity, gas has tariffs you have to pay (tariffs being the price you’re charged for the energy you use). Unlike electricity (which has solar feed-in tariffs, time of use and controlled loads), gas tariffs are relatively simple in comparison.
Your gas bill splits your tariff into two parts. The daily supply charge is usually a fixed rate that covers the cost of supplying your business with energy. The usage charge (sometimes known as the variable charge) is the amount you pay depending on how much gas your business consumes.
Gas can be charged at a “flat” single rate – the same price no matter the time of day or year – or a “blocked” single rate, where you pay one rate for the first part of your gas usage, then switch to a second rate for the next part. These “blocks” can be daily, monthly or even quarterly. Some providers may also have seasonal rates. This means that you get charged more during certain seasons, such as winter or summer.
1 2021 Australian energy statistics – The Hon Angus Taylor MP, Australian Government. Oct 2021. Accessed June 2022.
2 Business energy and water-efficiency – Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water. Australian Government. Accessed June 2022.
3 Discount energy saving products for business – Victoria State Government. Last updated June 2022. Accessed June 2022.
4 Building energy efficiency incentive – Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water. Australian Government. Accessed June 2022.
5 Retailer energy productivity scheme (REPS) – Essential Services Commission of South Australia. Accessed June 2022.
6 Energy-efficient air conditioning incentive – Ergon Energy – Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water. Australian Government. Accessed June 2022.
7 Business energy efficiency and sustainability assistance – Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water. Australian Government. Accessed June 2022.
8 Business efficiency assistance – Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water. Australian Government. Accessed June 2022.