Are the energy bills for your business going through the roof? It could be time to consider switching to gas on some of your higher-usage items to save on your costs.
As an energy source, gas can work out much cheaper than electricity in the long term. Gas is also the cleanest-burning fossil fuel and produces far less CO2 emissions than electricity (except for solar, wind and hydroelectricity), so it may help reduce your business’ impact on the environment.
While electricity is more common, businesses both great and small may need gas for certain appliances. For example, most food businesses will use gas ovens and cooktops because they’re quicker to heat up, they provide more even heating and are more cost-effective than their electricity counterparts. Typically, a business might use gas for:
Depending on the availability of gas energy in their area, enterprises that rely on electricity may switch to gas appliances. While gas heaters or other appliances may be more expensive to install than an electric ones, they’re typically cheaper to run and may help your business save money over time.
If you decide to use both energy sources for your business, an electricity and gas bundle – or a ‘dual fuel’ plan – is a common energy solution for many Australians.
As mentioned previously, different businesses may need gas if they rely on certain appliances for their operation, such as a stoves and ovens for a restaurant.
It’s important to consider how long you’ll need to run your gas appliances each day too, depending on your business needs. For example:
Typically, large industrial businesses are the biggest consumers of gas in Australia, as they may operate 24/7 and use heavy duty machines that require a lot of power. Small businesses may still benefit from gas too, including offices and retail stores that use gas-powered heating or other gas appliances.
If you don’t know whether there’s an existing gas supply at your business address, you can check this online with your distributor by visiting their website and entering in your address.. You can also check by emailing or calling them.
You can search online to see who the distributor is for your area, but we make it simples. If you compare plans through our free comparison service, we’ll let you know who the distributor is for the address you provide.
Your gas provider will arrange the new connection with your distributor. There may be costs involved, and the distributor will carry out the installation and connection work.
If you’re moving to a new location, you need to tell your provider in advance about the move and they’ll check whether there is an existing gas connection or if the building can be connected to gas. If gas is available, let them know what date you wish to move in on ahead of time. Allow at least three days before you move in for your gas to get connected.
Distributors maintain the network, while providers (also known as retailers) sell and bill the gas and electricity plans. If you already have a business gas plan, your distributor’s contact information is usually listed on your natural gas bills – usually in case there is an issue with your gas supply. You can check out our guide on how to read an energy bill 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 who your distributor is based on the postcode you entered in when comparing energy plans with our free comparison service.
In most Australian states, you don’t need to be present on connection day unless your meter is:
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 onto your next bill. Refer to your energy offer summary to check whether you’re responsible for this fee.
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 five to 30 business days (or as long as eight weeks in Western Australia), while the meter only installation may only take up to three business days.
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, tariff type, and lists your usage and supply details, energy charges (including and excluding GST) and your payment options.
Find out more about how to read your energy bill.
If you feel that you’ve been incorrectly billed, want to check a current meter reading or need to switch plans immediately, call your energy provider and 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.
This 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 at the Australian Taxation Office.
If you run a business from your home, you’ll need to calculate the electricity/gas expenses related to your home office. Make sure you store a copy of each business energy bill for taxation purposes.
If your business uses LPG (liquid petroleum gas), then you’ll have one or more pressurised containers, or ‘bottles’ or storage tanks somewhere on the property that 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 as they can’t be connected to pipes. LPG bottles can also come in a range of sizes to suit different needs, including storage tanks that are over 100kg or 200kg in size.