When private companies default.
Houston we have a problem. Ever since the State Government handed over (should I say sold our Gas & Fuel Corporation), we have had continuous gas issues in our street- in Camberwell of all places. The problem primarily arose from our failing infrastructure. It turns out, private companies will not spend money upgrading old and past use by date of the local street gas mains. We, in our street (and hundreds of others in our area) in what outer suburbs call "expensive suburbs" have some of the poorest infrastructure in the State.
Firstly here is the problem. In most areas in Camberwell Classed as an older suburb), the old gas mains are low pressure, bigger diameter galvanized steel pipes. These have now rusted and are porous to water getting into the pipes. As water flows down hill, after rains at the top parts of Camberwell, all the lower street mains are flooded with water. Result: everyone that has a standard hot water unit or house heater with a constant lit pilot light, suddenly lose heating or hot water without warning. After manually relighting the unit usually at night, on hands and knees and raining, the whole thing would possibly last till the morning before demand for gas in the area floods the pilot lights and the process has to be repeated.
Secondly, all that the gas companies will do is send out a team to pump out the excess water. The question of when will the system upgrade to the common use of high pressure, small diameter gas lines, impervious to water penetration never comes up.
So what's happening here and why is the Government holding back on nailing these companies to the wall for failing to upgrade an essential service?
The companies (ownership based in Singapore) couldn't give a damm about proper maintenance, but at the same time, raise gas prices year on year.
I heard from others, the present programme to replace all these old pipe installations is 2-3 years away. Why? Is it because there is no one in Government with any authority or jurisdiction to force these greedy companies to do anything, and if you're house is on the old system, tough. Even the Ombudsman can't do anything, except prepare a report that goes nowhere.
The only way we can change this attitude and get some action, is to form a joint partnership with anyone suffering poor gas supply issues and stop payment till the system is upgraded. Perhaps we pay 50% of our bill. I guarantee, this mass action will get results in a week. Let's hear from anyone willing to take direct action.