Mandatory gas connection in new developments

The practice of property developers mandating gas connection and gas use in new homes is locking South Australian families into higher energy bills and higher emissions, according to Mark Parnell MLC.

In State Parliament yesterday, the Greens introduced a Bill to give choice back to households by declaring any compulsory gas connection arrangement to be “null and void”.

Using the example of the SpringLake development at Mount Barker, Mark Parnell outlined how all new households in the development were legally obliged to connect to gas and to use gas for at least space heating and water heating. Even if households choose to install solar hot water, they are required to have it gas-boosted.

This practice flies in the face of the latest analysis by the Alternative Technology Association which shows that all-electric homes are cheaper to run over the medium term than dual fuel homes. In Adelaide, the saving from an all-electric home with solar panels is an average $14,000 over ten years. Even without solar panels, all electric homes are still cheaper to run.

“This is a last gasp by the gas industry to force its way into South Australian homes. Householders are rapidly turning to more efficient and cheaper electric options, especially those involving solar panels and battery storage.

"Locking householders into expensive energy is unfair and denies people the right to choose how they heat their homes and water or cook their family meals. First homebuyers are already facing mortgage stress, so forcing them into higher energy prices as well just adds to that stress.

"To reduce our impact on the climate, we need to wean ourselves off fossil fuels. That was the clear message from the International Panel on Climate Change. The easiest place to start is with new homes in new developments before they are locked into using fossil fuels. The time to make smart investment decisions is at the building stage. Once a house is connected to gas, it is much hard to shift to renewable energy in the future. Most people don’t replace appliances until they break down, which can take decades,” concluded Mark Parnell.