A continued high demand for safe and cost effective energy solutions has seen ATCO Gas Australia set a new connection record in 2015 with almost 26,000 residential, business and commercial customers added to the company’s distribution network.
ATCO Gas Australia is the largest natural gas distributor in Western Australia, operating 99.82% of total gas connections. The upsurge in connections means nearly 725,000 consumers are connected to the company’s 14,000km network of underground pipelines which delivers competitive energy from Geraldton in the north to Albany in the south.
As the volume of connections increased, the company’s commitment to quality customer service kept pace, ensuring 99.99% of new connections were delivered within agreed timeframes. ATCO Gas Australia President, Pat Donovan, said the development and growth of the network in WA to provide greater access and a more efficient energy supply for consumers was backed up by strong performance indicators.
“Natural gas is an efficient, low emission energy source and continues to be an attractive choice for a variety of uses in the home, including space and water heating, as well as cooktops and barbecues,” Mr Donovan said. “We have seen strong demand from home owners in new residential developments who are choosing to connect when natural gas is available, and we are focussed on ensuring it is available. To achieve record connections and deliver the overwhelming majority of them on time, and without compromise to our exacting safety standards, has been an outstanding collective effort from across the business,” added Mr Donovan.
Existing customers also benefited from ATCO’s commitment to operational excellence with 52% fewer consumers experiencing long supply interruptions. Just 0.1% of consumers on the network were without supply for more than 12 hours at a time, with 35% of those outages resulting from a single gas main broken by a third party undertaking construction work. The remaining interruptions were the result of separate water ingress incidents caused by third party faulty infrastructure near ATCO assets.
Gas Distribution Officer, Dale Scott, inspects a residential gas meter installation
The ATCO Gas Australia call centre recorded an 8.7% increase in calls to a six year peak of 84,106 reflecting increased interest in gas connections as well as greater understanding and brand recognition of ATCO’s role in the gas supply chain. A series of safety campaigns were undertaken in 2015, each of which provided information on gas appliance maintenance as well as identifying and taking action when a gas leak is suspected, including calling ATCO Gas Australia.
A change to the way complaints to the call centre are categorised and recorded resulted in an increase in this area, however the majority of those instances related to meter readings and were resolved at first contact by call centre employees.
The benefits of the company’s ongoing, proactive asset maintenance programs, as well as education to reduce third party damage to the network was evident in delivering a significant 31.7% decrease in the number of repairs required to ATCO Gas Australia’s gas mains.
“As the network operator we look after the pipelines and gas meters that supply homes, businesses and industrial consumers across a large geographic area. While we do everything we can to keep the network operating without incident, we encourage anyone who suspects a gas leak or has other queries related to their gas supply to call 13 13 52 and speak to us. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and will investigate and take action to ensure the safety of the communities we serve,” said Mr Donovan. “Our investment in the network is built on fundamentals of operating and maintaining a safe, reliable, efficient and competitively priced supply of gas for the long term benefit of WA consumers. This is an important period for the development of the domestic gas market and the results from 2015 underline the positive impact our efforts are having in delivering West Australians an energy choice by harnessing the benefits of natural gas.”
Download ATCO Gas Australia 2015 Operations Infographic
ATCO is a diversified global corporation delivering service excellence and innovative business solutions in Structures & Logistics, Electricity, Pipelines & Liquids, and Retail Energy. More information about ATCO can be found on www.ATCO.com.