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Visits to gas customers: Bonn public utilities prepares for change-over of gas supply

Visits to gas customers : Bonn public utilities prepares for change-over of gas supply

Bonn's public utility company is currently preparing for the planned changeover of the gas supply. The first home visits will start in October and all the checks should be completed by 2024.

Anyone who owns a house or a flat in Bonn will receive mail from the Bonn public utility company before next year, because natural gas is to be converted from L-gas (L for low) to H-gas (H for high) in Bonn by 2022. To do this, the utility company needs to know which gas appliances are in each household. Every gas customer can expect at least two home visits in the next two years.

"We have no choice", sums up Theo Waerder, Managing Director of Bonn-Netz GmbH: "Until now, we have got our gas from the Netherlands," but gas supplies there will soon be exhausted and an alternative was needed; that is why the gas will come from Russia and Norway in the future. This gas will be the higher calorific H-gas. "It's like filling up my car with high-octane petrol," Waerder explained.

A total of around 77,000 systems will be converted

Bonn-Netz GmbH estimates that about 77,000 systems in Bonn will have to be converted. "This is logistically extremely complex," said Waerder. That is why Waerder and his team have joined forces with the police, the public order office, the consumer advice centre and the Bonn Energy Agency. Preparations have been underway since 2018 and everything should be completed in Bonn by 2024. "We have to work through everything systematically and look at every system", Waerder explained.

The first gas customers have been receiving letters since 22 June and things will start in Beuel. "Photos will be taken of the systems and the equipment will be marked", said Daniel Foullong, one of the two project managers. For some appliances, the adjustment will already made before the gas changeover. "But some will be adjusted shortly before and some only after."

Five service providers will be commissioned to carry out the changeover

Five service providers are to be commissioned with the conversion. "They've been doing it for a long time," Waerder says. One of the companies will re-examine about ten per cent of the systems. "There should be a maximum of three appointments per customer," says Foullong. Should defects be noticed in a system, however, this will only be noted down and the customer must then take care of replacement or refitting himself. Malte Dahms, the second project manager for the gas conversion, however, emphasises that this will involve a maximum of one per cent of all systems. "The reason why a system cannot be adapted depends on many factors," says Dahms. "These cases will happen, but it mostly depends on the age of the system."

"What is most important is that the customer is well informed and cooperates," says Foullong. To prevent "fake" employees who might pretend to come because of the gas changeover to gain access to properties, each customer will be given an order number in the letter, which can then be compared with that in the letter from the fitter. The conversion in Beuel is in some ways a test phase for the project. "We don't know which systems and gas appliances are in each household", explains Foullong. "That's why we're starting a bit earlier." That way, if there are any delays, we have a time buffer. " The new H-gas is to be switched on in Beuel from October 2022 and other districts of the city will gradually be converted. The southwestern part of Bonn is to follow in May 2023, Bonn Centre in August 2023 and Bad Godesberg in September 2023.

(Original text; Thomas Leurs, translation John Chandler)