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Breaking new ground – extending the benefits of natural gas

Breaking new ground – extending the benefits of natural gas image

PHOENIX Natural Gas is breaking new ground this year by extending the natural gas pipeline to 13 towns in Co Down, bringing the benefits of natural gas to an additional 28,000 homes and businesses.

The £60 million private investment by the company will see 350km of network constructed over the next few years in the towns of Annahilt, Ballygowan, Ballynahinch, Castlewellan, Crossgar, Downpatrick, Dromore, Drumaness, Dundrum, Hillsborough, Newcastle, Saintfield and Spa.

Since being granted a licence extension by the Utility Regulator in 2015, Phoenix Natural Gas has been busy working to expand its network, with Ballygowan recently becoming the first town to go live with new customers connecting to the natural gas network in December last year.

The company is currently working in Hillsborough and Ballynahinch town centres, with earliest connections planned later this year.

In addition, Phoenix Natural Gas is currently constructing pipeline in Annahilt and the Spa towards Downpatrick in 2017.

Geri Wright, the company's communications manager, said: "Phoenix Natural Gas has served its licence area of Greater Belfast for over 20 years and has established natural gas as the fuel of choice during this time.

"By the end of 2016, we reached a milestone 200,000 customers, with natural gas available to 320,000 properties in the original license area.

"The expansion of the network in Co Down allows us to bring the benefits of natural gas to new areas – improving local utility infrastructure and offering home and business owners greater fuel choice."

Having invested £500m in laying some 3,500km of pipework to date, Phoenix Natural Gas is the largest natural gas distribution and gas services business in the north.

"From a communications perspective, it's about opening up a dialogue with new audiences throughout the construction phase, to ensure we deliver a practical and efficient programme of works with minimal disruption to local residents," Geri added.

"The expansion presents both an opportunity and a challenge for us as we work to build the Phoenix Natural Gas brand in these areas and educate new audiences on the many benefits of natural gas, including its environmental credentials."

In addition to instant and constant heat, with no chance of "running out", switching to natural gas removes 270,000 tonnes of Co2 from the atmosphere annually – the equivalent of taking 100,000 cars off the road each year.

It's something of which the company is extremely proud and is part of an overarching environmental focus.

"It it's part of our corporate responsibility programme, known as LIFE - Leadership in the marketplace, Investing in our people, Fostering our community and Environmental responsibility," Geri explained.

"The Phoenix LIFE programme exists to enable the company to positively impact the marketplace, workplace, environment and community, in line with main business objectives."

Phoenix Natural Gas has also set up the Energy for Children Charitable Trust to provide financial support to groups and individuals that may slip through the net of the wider charity network.

Since its formation in 2005, the trust has helped over 6,000 local children and every month continues to help those who need it most.

:: The 2017 Irish News Workplace & Employment Awards take place in Titanic Belfast on Thursday June 8. For entry pack and awards information visit

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Installing natural gas central heating does eliminate the need for a separate hot water tank, so it is possible to free up some space where the hot press currently exists. However, it is not a requirement of installing natural gas central heating that your hot water tank is removed, so it is entirely your choice.

Homeowners installing a new central heating appliance will be required to make an application to the Builiding Control department of their local council prior to work commencing.

Once you have requested your connection to the natural gas network, it can take up to 15 working days to get a planned connection date. Your natural gas connection is installed over approximately 5 working days, which includes re-instatement on private and public property.  The final stage is the internal installation completed by your installer which (depending on the work involved) can take on average 3 working days.

Currently Phoenix Natural Gas offers a free connection to the natural gas network, worth up to £750.  Work to install your natural gas appliance, e.g. central heating or gas fire is carried out by an independent Gas Safe registered installer.  Details of these installers can be found here.

There would be more energy saving benefits to change everything at once, but we realise that family budgets may prevent this. It is possible to change over in stages, as financial considerations allow.

As with any major home improvement there will be an element of disruption, although both Phoenix Natural Gas and Gas Safe registered installation companies (registered with Phoenix Natural Gas) will aim to keep this to an absolute minimum.

The network operator provides and maintains the natural gas network.  The supplier buys gas which they then sell to consumers via the network operator’s network.  Your supplier is your first point of contact for billing queries and payment card requests.

Phoenix Natural Gas is the gas transporter and network operator.  We do not supply natural gas.  Details of gas suppliers in the greater Belfast area can be found here.

This section is currently under review.

Please call your gas supplier or 03454 55 55 55 for help and advice.

We apologise for any inconvenience caused.


Phoenix Natural Gas is the network operator and not the gas supplier.  Therefore, you will need to speak to your gas supplier.  Details of suppliers can be found here.

On occasion Phoenix Natural Gas will need to carry essential maintenance on the gas meter.  We will endeavour to notify you of this to enable access to your gas appliances after the work is carried out. However, we know that this is not always convenient for consumers. 

If we have been at your property and left a no access card this will give the appropriate number to call to get your gas switched back on.  If you have any questions regarding this please contact our customer services team on 03454 55 55 55.

Natural gas is the fuel of choice for many consumers across Europe with 20 million customers in Great Britain alone. Phoenix Natural Gas continually monitors the system for safety and operates a 24-hour emergency response service, 365 days a year. All gas appliances should be correctly installed by a Gas Safe registered installation company and should be checked annually.

Natural gas is a very convenient, clean and versatile fuel. But like all fuels it must be handled wisely to ensure its safety and efficiency. If you think you smell gas, you should contact the 24-hour gas emergency service on 0800 002 001 or click here for further advice.


No. All installers who are eligible to carry out natural gas work have been registered with Gas Safe Register, which is the national watchdog for gas safety in the UK. Many of these installers will also be registered with Phoenix Natural Gas, which ensures that you can take advantage of our many offers and incentives for new customers switching to natural gas.

A number of installation companies offer a finance facility which allows you to install a new high efficiency natural gas system and spread the cost of installation over a fixed number of months.

For more information on Finance please click here.

For a full list of Phoenix registered installers please click here.