Ryan promises equal gas price for towns
DEPUTY premier Peter Ryan has promised residents of Heathcote, Marong and Maldon that when natural gas comes to town, it will be the same price as Huntly.
Mr Ryan visited Huntly on Tuesday morning to celebrate the 180 homes in the area now directly connected to natural gas.
Another 100 homes had signed up for a direct connection, with the potential for a further 350 connections at the Viewpoint Huntly estate.
While Huntly residents enjoyed the convenience of gas heating, cooking and hot water, those in Heathcote, Marong and Maldon were still playing the waiting game.
The three towns were waiting on the outcome of a tender process for a CNG or LNG storage facility to be built on the edge of the towns.
Gas would then be trucked in, most likely from Dandenong, and piped to residences and businesses.
Mr Ryan said the towns could expect the same outcome no matter what the method of delivery.
"The pricing will be the same, reticulation will be the same, the actual operation from the point of view of the consumer will be exactly the same," he said.
"No one will know any different."
Connecting 14 Victorian towns to natural gas was a key plank of the Coalition's regional Victoria election platform at the 2010 state election.
AusNet Services, formerly SP AusNet, completed the project to connect Huntly.
The state government provided $2.58 million to the $4.5 million connection.
AusNet Services project manager Geoff Thorn said the economics of Huntly made it an attractive project.
"We estimated that between 40 and 45 per cent of residents would connect within two years," he said.
"We currently have about one-third of people connecting, which is a great result."
The previous state Labor government chose not to attempt to connect more towns to natural gas.
Member for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan said the announcement of the Viewpoint Huntly estate in 2011 made natural gas viable for the area.