The Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) is the statutory independent body charged with the assessment and licensing of prospective operators seeking to develop and operate a gas distribution system within the State.
In 2006, the CER approved a new network connections policy which enabled 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 met as a prerequisite. The policy, which was updated in 2011, allows for the appraisal of a town either on its own or as part of a regional group of towns.
The policy framework provides that, over a certain period, the costs of connecting a town or group of towns to the network are recouped through the actual economic consumption of gas and the associated tariffs. Uneconomic projects would increase costs for all energy consumers.
Under the CER's policy framework, Bord Gáis Networks, and more recently Gaslink, carried out a comprehensive assessment of towns not already connected to the national gas network. Gaslink published its New Towns Analysis Phase 3 report in 2010.
As the successor to Gaslink, Gas Networks Ireland (GNI) will continue 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, usually as a result of the addition of a new large industrial or commercial facility.
Enquiries in relation to the new town evaluation process should be directed to Gas Networks Ireland customer service staff on 1850 200 694 or by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org. More information is available on the Gas Networks Ireland web page at this link: http://www.gasnetworks.ie/en-IE/Get-Connected/Can-I-get-gas/