The first phase of one of the Island’s largest infrastructure projects – the Natural Gas Extension Project – is now almost complete with Manx Gas engineers having made over 9,000 customer visits and carried out full gas safety inspections in more than 6,700 properties as part of the pre-conversion survey.
“The support of our customers in allowing us access to their homes has resulted in the main thrust of the survey work being completed ahead of schedule,” said Manx Gas project manager Aidan Baglow. Heis now looking ahead to 27 February when his team of engineers will embark on the second and crucial phase when the conversion to natural gas begins.
“Over a period of 10 months this final phase will see all properties supplied by town gas and mains LPG ,which have been surveyed in Ramsey, Castletown, Ballasalla, Port Erin, Port St Mary, Colby, Ballakillowey and Peel, converted to natural gas, giving customers all the benefits that accrue from it,” said Mr Baglow. “We will be using the same team of Isle of Man-based Gas Safe registered engineers who are the only certified gas conversion engineers in the British Isles.”
He added that during the survey the engineers had identified a “fairly significant” number of unsafe appliances which they had made safe and had successfully resolved any problems with customers. All customers, he added, were recommended to continue to have their appliances checked each year by a Gas Safe registered engineer.
“The purpose of the survey has been to identify every gas appliance for conversion, along with a gas safety inspection to make sure there are no existing safety issues and then, if we find any, to resolve the problem and ensure everything is ready for conversion. Across the Island there are still some 90 customers we haven’t been able to contact despite notifications being sent to them and we are now working with external agencies to hopefully resolve that situation. Without a survey those properties cannot be converted to natural gas.”
Mr Baglow emphasised that the survey was just one small part of a very detailed programme and between now and 27 February the conversion team will be working to ensure they have all the conversion kits required for individual appliances. An appliance that cannot be converted will be replaced free of charge.
“The conversion work, which will begin in Ramsey, will be carried out in small areas called sectors of about 75 to 100 properties, each property in a sector will be converted at the same time,” explained Mr Baglow. “We will be writing to customers nearer the time informing them when their appliances will be converted along with details of the process. There will also be a mobile customer support unit on site throughout the process so customers are kept fully informed and any queries they may have can be answered.”
Category: Finance & Business