New Towns Connection Policy
The development and expansion of the natural gas network is in the first instance a commercial matter for Gas Networks Ireland (GNI). GNI is a commercial State-sponsored body under the aegis of the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government. GNI is mandated by section 8 of the Gas Act 1976 (as amended) to develop and maintain a national system for the supply of natural gas that is both economical and efficient.
The Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) is the statutory independent regulator. CRU is statutorily responsible for all aspects of the assessment and licensing of prospective operators seeking to develop or operate a gas distribution system within Ireland.
In 2006, the CRU approved a Network Connections Policy. This policy provides the basis for the assessment of the feasibility of connecting certain towns to the gas network. In order for any town to be connected to the gas network, certain economic criteria need to be satisfied as a prerequisite.
The policy framework provides that, over a certain period, the costs of connecting a town to the network are recouped through the actual economic consumption of gas and the associated tariffs. This is designed to obviate against uneconomic projects. Uneconomic gas pipeline projects would unfairly increase costs for all gas consumers nationwide. The policy framework allows for the appraisal of a town either on its own or as part of a regional group of towns.
Those economic criteria include:
the distance of a town from the gas network, which is a major factor determining the costs of building a gas pipeline, and
the anticipated industrial or commercial gas usage in the town. This largely determines the revenue from gas network charges, which must balance the connection costs.
An assessment of towns not already connected to the national gas network was published in 2010. More information is available on GNI homepage at the following link:
GNI continues to review the towns which did not qualify for connection in 2010 as well as other towns. The key factor which would qualify a town or group of towns in any future review would be a significant increase in demand for natural gas. This might be the addition of a new large industrial or commercial facility.
For further details on the new town evaluation process, please GNI, by email at email@example.com or by mail at the following address:
Networks Ireland Headquarters
If you would like to make an enquiry about a connection to the gas network, please contact GNI at 1850 200 694 or by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org More information is available on the GNI website at the following link: http://www.gasnetworks.ie/en-IE/Get-Connected/Can-I-get-gas/
Business customers may call the dedicated Gas Networks Ireland Businesslink service on 1850 411 511 or by email at email@example.com.