Explore Energy

Many rely on gas to heat their water and power their appliances – in fact, gas provides roughly a quarter of Australia’s energy needs. There are two types of gas supplied to Aussies depending on where they live: reticulated natural gas and liquified petroleum gas (LPG).

Reticulated natural gas, also known as natural gas, is distributed by pipeline. Natural gas is primarily made up of methane, which is collected during the fossil fuel burning process by drilling through gas wells. This type of gas is a low-carbon fossil fuel.

LPG, on the other hand, is a mixture of primarily liquefied propane and butane gases. This type of gas is also a low-carbon fossil fuel; however, it’s obtained through crude oil refinement.

1. Reticulated natural gas

A network of pipelines distributes reticulated natural gas. To be eligible for reticulated natural gas, you must live near a gas transmission pipeline so that a gas fitter can connect your home to a gas supply.

If there isn’t an existing pipeline that the gas fitter can connect you to, the gas fitter may be able to arrange a new connection and metre box for you. However, this will typically come at an extra cost.

This type of gas is supplied and charged similarly to electricity in that you receive a steady stream of energy and it’s generally billed bi-monthly in Victoria or quarterly in all other states. To find out more about gas charges and bills, read our article on how to read energy bills.

Advantages of reticulated natural gas

Reticulated natural gas is a cleaner energy alternative for those wanting to reduce their carbon footprint. It’s mainly made up of methane, which is produced through fossil fuel combustion. However, it combusts the least amount of carbon dioxide compared to other types of fossil fuels.1

In general, gas is cheaper than electricity and can help you save through various appliances, including:

  • gas ranges and ovens
  • water heaters
  • slab or underfloor heating
  • gas heaters & fire places
  • clothes dryers
  • furnaces
  • outdoor lighting and heating.

Disadvantages of reticulated natural gas

The initial fees for connection can be expensive if you’re not already connected to a pipeline. Furthermore, if you don’t already have gas appliances, you’ll have to get new ones.

That’s to say, if your appliance runs on reticulated natural gas, the gas fitter can adjust it to use LPG on the spot. Keep in mind that only a licensed gas fitter can do this, and you should not attempt to do this yourself.

You can’t run a house entirely on gas, meaning that you’ll still have two separate bills for electricity and gas. Even a gas range uses some electricity.

A gas fitter checking the gas consumption

2. Liquified petroleum gas (LPG)

LPG is a mixture of gases (mainly propane and butane) that’s typically used for heating, cooking and hot water. It’s stored in 45kg or 90kg refillable cylinders and delivered to your home. When you run out, you’ll have to call your supplier to have a licensed gas fitter deliver new bottles. Note that the 45kg bottles will be replaced as needed, while 90kg bottles need to be accessible from the street for refilling.

Most gas fitters will install two bottles at a time. You can choose to install one, but you’ll have to frequently check your usage to make sure you don’t run out before the new bottle arrives.

Advantages of LPG

This type of gas ensures that you can have a steady supply of gas even if you’re nowhere near a transmission pipeline. The installation is easy, and you only have to buy bottles when you need it, meaning that if you only use four bottles a year, you only need to pay twice a year.

Disadvantages of LPG

Unlike reticulated natural gas, you have stay on top of how much gas you’re using so that you know when to order new bottles. That’s to say, if you forget to order on time, you run the risk of not being able to cook with your gas range or have hot showers for a few days.

Which type of gas is best for you?

The best type of gas for you will depend on your location and whether you’re already connected to a pipeline. Consider your situation:

  • If you aren’t already connected to a pipeline and aren’t able to get connected, your only option will be to get LPG if you have gas fuelled appliances.
  • If your home is already connected to a pipeline, then you’ll have the option to get either reticulated natural gas or LPG. However, keep in mind that you’ll have to continuously monitor and order bottles for a steady gas supply with LPG.
  • If your home isn’t connected to a pipeline, but are able to get connected, you should consider the upfront costs of getting connected and your household’s energy consumption. If your household has a high energy consumption, you’ll likely be ordering LPG bottles frequently – natural gas may be a more convenient option for you. If you can’t afford the upfront costs of getting connected to a pipeline or have a low energy consumption, you may want to consider LPG.

A couple cooking over a gas cooktop

Frequently asked questions

What if I don’t have a natural gas connection?

Not everyone is eligible for this reticulated natural gas as transmission pipelines have limited reach. Those who aren’t eligible for reticulated natural gas will have to get LPG delivered by bottle.

Which energy retailers provide gas?

The gas providers available to you will depend on where you live. Follow the links to your location to find out more about some gas energy providers near you.

Unfortunately, we can’t yet help residents in Tasmania and the Northern Territory with gas. If you are from these states or territories, contact your local distributor to find out more about getting connected to gas.

If I have natural gas appliances, can I connect it directly to a cylinder?

If you have natural gas appliances, these can be converted to LPG by a licensed professional. LPG bottles can be dangerous to use on a natural gas appliance because they’re sealed under high pressure, so you shouldn’t try to convert this yourself.

Do I have to get new appliances if I switch to gas?

If you have electric appliances that you want to fuel with gas, you’ll have to buy new gas-compatible appliances. LPG and reticulated gas can run on the same appliances after a gas fitter adjusts it.

Compare different types of gas energy plans

Now that you know about the different types of natural gas, why not compare quotes to see if you can find a great-value gas plan for your home? It’s easy to compare prices, discounts and features with our free gas comparison service in a matter of minutes!

So, what are you waiting for? Compare gas today!

Sources

[1] Australian Parliament House. (2020). Australian electricity options: natural gas. Accessed 25 September 2020.

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