Are New Home Builders being compelled to connect to Gas?

One of our Choice Community has recently raised a concern some home owners may have been compelled to connect their new homes to gas. LPG in the instance raised. The properties have or are being built in a new residential estate development in Sutherland Council are of NSW.

It’s not clear if LPG was optional or agreed to as a condition of purchase. Many Councils and some states and territories have policies limiting or preventing the expansion of new gas to residential properties.

New Victorian homes will no required to have gas

The Climate Council suggested NSW policy works against consumers by maintaining high levels of demand for residential gas.

Are consumers able to choose when purchasing land and building a new home, to connect to gas (LPG or reticulated)?

2 Likes

My son has just moved into his newly built home. He had to have gas hot water. It was a requirement of the new estate where he built. They don’t have natural gas in their area.

2 Likes

There are reasons that you might not want to have gas hot water but the health consequences are not the same as a gas stove because gas hot water heaters are either outdoors or have a flue to the outdoors so you are not breathing the combustion products as you do in a kitchen.

What powers the water heater then, bottled LPG?

It seems strange that he had to have gas water heating and stranger that the vendor/developer could enforce such a requirement. Can you tell us more about it? What is the housing development called?

2 Likes

LPG. The Estate is called the Ridgeway at Barden Ridge. I don’t know any other details

2 Likes

That estate has a design control plan which is all about plot layout, appearances, access, yards, vegetation etc. In other words it is all about the outside of the house. It is enforced through local government. There is no mention of any attempt to control what is inside the house or what form of energy is used. As the development is sold out there is little chance of finding out much more as the staff will be working on the next big thing.

I suspect that the story of the gas water heater has got a little garbled in the re-telling. No matter, it isn’t relevant to gas stoves or the safety of appliances that burn gas indoors.

2 Likes

Well I can tell you 100% they had to have gas hot water. That wouldn’t have been my son’s choice but he didn’t have a choice. He had his gas bottles stored underground. There is nothing garbled about it.

1 Like

A very unusual situation. We used Origin as our supplier for some time, natural and LPG services. It would be an exception (exception/special approval) for home installed bottled LPG to be installed other than above ground.

Was there a building covenant for the estate? They are common for new developments. What did it say about the services? Perhaps the estate has a community service with reticulated underground gas (LPG) from a bulk tank.

Note:
To be able to deliver energy efficient homes builders will offer the most suitable options. Until recently gas was supported by some levels of government as essential to Australia’s future transition to lower carbon. The options suggested by one well known home construction company from their energy efficient homes guide.

Of the three Hot Water options mentioned, gas is likely the lowest cost for the builder to provide.

It would assist the community to better understand circumstances how or where the son’s home building contract specified the HWS, IE standard inclusion, options, covenant?

P.S.
The statement by Metricon gas HW is more energy efficient than electric is unreliable, open to interpretation.

2 Likes

Then it is odd that it isn’t mentioned at all on the vendors’s web site with all the other conditions. Anyway, it is off topic.

2 Likes

I suspect the real story here is that the builder of the home put a gas hot water system in, and since there is no piped gas supply to the estate, gas bottle was required.

2 Likes

Following on from @syncretic, it’s a related but slightly different (more complex) discussion.
Are the relevant, still to be confirmed facts supportive of ‘developers + gas companies + builders’ encouraging continued installation of new gas connected homes?
Are home buyers - consumers unwittingly being caught out, despite having other preferences?

Are the concerns of consumers having to decide about having gas for a new home or replacing with one of the alternatives common to those raised in the OP?

3 Likes

I can only tell you what I know and that is every home in that estate has bottled gas hot water and it was a requirement. You only have to drive around the estate to see all of the gas bottles. My son’s gas bottles are stored underground, I have seen them myself. I know nothing about covenants, I haven’t seen their contract or anything else. I only know what he and his neighbours have said. I do know it’s not a reticulated system. I’m sorry I have no other details other than what I have already said.

Your LPG gas bottle is stored safely underground and out of sight*

:diamonds: EFFORTLESS LPG™ with Automatic LPG Gas Bottle Refill Home Deliveries

:diamonds: We monitor your LPG bottled gas usage and schedule deliveries, as needed

:diamonds: You get direct LPG refills from our tanker truck to your LPG gas bottle*

:diamonds: No more checking LPG gas bottle or having to call to order LPG refill

:diamonds: There’s no more replacement or changeover of LPG gas bottle

:diamonds: Modern EasyGas LPG refill tankers and a comprehensive safety program

:diamonds: It saves usable yard space and facilitates zero lot line installations

:diamonds: Suitable for both new and retro-fit applications in both residential and commercial settings

:diamonds: Your underground LPG gas bottle is located close to the street for easy, hassle-free delivery

:diamonds: Placement underground and a flame retardant lid provide added safety

Adding LPG gas bottles to your all-electric home? Please see How To Add LPG Gas Bottles to Your Home

Please

3 Likes

Under NSW BASIX building regulations at the time, couldn’t use a standard hot water system. Had to have either instantaneous LPG or heat pump system. Instantaneous LPG with controller on wall is magic. For one person low flow instantaneous LPG hot water is sensible. You are not keeping a tank of water hot. In our climate which gets down to as low as -16C occasionally, having a large tank of hot water is not a smart idea. LPG including cylinder rental costs me $17.32 a month when at home for cooking and hot water. My Solar system FIT pays for the LPG in any case.

2 Likes

Thank you @vivhalaska.

I’ve given this discussion a seperate topic. It may be of interest to many in the community looking to build a new home and considering whether they may be put in a situation of having to accept taking on gas as part of the deal. One would expect today no consumer would be compelled to connect and use gas in or around their home.

It appears your son has an LPG cylinder imbedded in an in ground concrete casement. Fixed storage (EasyGas DownUnder™), refilled from a service truck and tank+long hose. It’s an Elgas product.

2 Likes

Isn’t there a push on from Governments to reduce the burning of fuels that produce CO2?

In what part of Australia would there be a regulation that gas appliances for heating be mandated?

3 Likes

Thank you, I was beginning to think some commenters on here thought I was making it up. I knew he was with Elgas as we had a lengthy discussion on which supplier to use. We have a gas cook top with LPG, my son also has a gas cooktop, his wife’s choice. My husband and I were quite shocked that he had to have gas hot water, when it seems the powers that be are wanting to phase it out. I will ask him more details when I see him, provided I remember.

2 Likes

Or maybe the real story is that the developer chose not to have any reticulated gas at all - because it would cost the developer a lot of money, and may have a limited useful lifetime.

Well, per the OP, in Victoria for a start, until recently.

Yes.

It looks like a case of regulation not having kept pace with reality.

There was a time in the not so distant past when gas was cheaper and less emitting and more efficient than electricity. Gas was seen as an interim solution to reducing emissions. In the meantime, gas has become more expensive than it was, electricity self-generation has become cheaper and more prevalent than it was, and reducing emissions more urgent. So the goalposts have moved.

However there is a difference between government mandating gas and government not mandating gas or anything else and government banning gas. In this particular case (the OP) it seems that the situation is “government not mandating gas or anything else” and the developer just choosing gas - which is then mandated on the purchaser.

2 Likes

Choice people don’t do such things :grinning:. But now and then they don’t get the story 100% right - particularly when they are relaying from elsewhere.

Mark’s information tells us the how but not the why.

If you can at some time, I would be very pleased to find out how all this came about as it is clear authorities can limit what you do to your land in some ways but I did not think they could tell you what appliances to buy.

2 Likes

As you mentioned

Shared disbelief.
Please take the opportunity to share any further info on how the arrangements arose.

2 Likes

… and locks people in to that service.

Delivered 45Kg gas bottles are enormously expensive, I imagine the gas price for the refill service above is equally expensive or worse - it is significantly cheaper to simply put an 8.5Kg cylinder on a couple milk crates, by a large margin based on exchange prices at Bunnings for example, and even cheaper again (though a little dodgy) to refill ones own 45Kg cylinders at the servo from the Autogas pump ‘so I’m told’ … :rofl:

You’d think the authorities would be encouraging solar hot water - while I’m not sure how much sun people elsewhere get, I typically turn the power on to mine a day or two per year … the rest is free from the sun.

4 Likes