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FAQs


Do you still have questions about the natural gas conversion? We have listed the most frequent questions and answers for you.

We will add each new question to this list. Was your question not there or wasn’t it answered to your satisfaction? Then ask your question here by using our question form or contact our helpline (free): 0800 4398 444 (Mon – Fri, 7-20 hours and Sat, 8-16 hours).

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Background

The natural gas grid in Germany basically supplies either L gas or H gas. Due to the declining production of L gas with a low calorific value in the Netherlands, the natural gas grid in Germany is being gradually converted to H gas with a higher calorific value. This gas comes mainly from Norwegian and Russian sources. Conversion of the natural gas grid is also known as market area conversion (MRU) and will take place progressively until 2030.

Inspection of the first natural gas appliances in the area covered by the Rheinische NETZGesellschaft mbH (RNG) grid will begin in the 2nd quarter of 2018 – and conversion will continue gradually area by area until the year 2030. Please search here for a map of the conversion districts and conversion periods.

Change is necessary because of the diminishing yields from L gas extraction in the Netherlands. The natural gas conversion is necessary in order to ensure that Germany continues to be supplied with natural gas in the long term. The natural gas conversion or market area conversion is required by law and is governed by § 19a Energy Industry Act. The only body authorised by law to implement the natural gas conversion is the local distribution grid operator.

Under § 19a Energy Industry Act, only the local distribution grid operator has the proper authority to deliver the natural gas conversion. In the Rhineland region, this is Rheinische NETZGesellschaft mbH (RNG). This company, operating under its ErdgasUmstellung brand, is responsible for the safe processing and organisation of the conversion.

The different types of gas differ in their chemical compositions, hence their different levels of energy. The energy content of gas is generally indicated by its calorific value, which is expressed in terms of kilowatt hours per cubic metre (kWh/m³). H stands for ‘high’ – the energy content of H gas is correspondingly higher than that of L gas (approx. 11.5 kWh/m³ to 10 kWh/m³).

Implementation and procedure

ErdgasUmstellung will give all households concerned early notice by letter of the period in which we will be operating in your town and carrying out the house visits. Please search here for a map of the conversion districts and conversion periods.

ErdgasUmstellung will inform you about your appointment date with our technician by post. It is important that the technician can enter your home and access the natural gas appliances on the day of the appointment.

If you are unable to keep the appointment set in the letter, we request that you let us know as soon as possible so that we can arrange a new appointment.
You can contact us on our freephone helpline on (+49 80) 0439-8444 (Mon–Fri, 7 am to 8 pm and Sat, 8 am to 4 pm) or by sending us an e-mail at info@meine-erdgasumstellung.de.

Yes, as tenant or owner you are legally obliged to give the companies commissioned by ErdgasUmstellung, i.e. their technicians, access to your land or flat / house where the natural gas appliances requiring conversion are located.

Conversion takes place in three stages: In the first stage, we will inform all consumers concerned by letter about the forthcoming natural gas conversion. In the second stage, all the natural gas appliances in your household will be inspected. Up to two years after the inspection visit, an appointment will be made to carry out the technical adaptation of the natural gas system. In this third stage, your natural gas appliance will be converted to use H gas. For quality assurance purposes, we conduct a spot-check on every tenth natural gas appliance to ensure that the inspections and/or adaptations in the region have been properly carried out.

No. Basically, your natural gas supply is guaranteed at all times and no unannounced interruptions to the gas supply will happen. Your natural gas appliances will only need to be switched off during the conversion process. Please expect the conversion of conventional household appliances to take between 45 and 90 minutes.

Close to the agreed conversion date, a meter reading will be taken. This will ensure that billing is accurate during the transitional phase.

Conversion to the new type of gas will ensure the safe and efficient supply of natural gas into the future.

Before the first technician visit, each consumer receives a Personal Identification Number (PIN) through the post. PIN letters are sent out with or without a specific appointment date. If you have received a PIN letter without a specific appointment date, this means that the ErdgasUmstellung technicians will visit you without naming a specific date beforehand.

ErdgasUmstellung is forced to interrupt the supply of natural gas to some households for safety reasons. This can be due to a number of reasons:

1. The smell of gas within a customer system
If ErdgasUmstellung detects the smell of gas while inspecting or adapting your natural gas appliances, we will suspend and seal your natural gas system for your safety and the safety of others. You will also receive a warning label from our technician. As noted on the label, please have your system inspected by an approved installation company. The installer you commission can note down the inspection of and work on the fault on the back of the warning label and send it to ErdgasUmstellung by post. The address can be found on the warning label. ErdgasUmstellung will pay the postage. ErdgasUmstellung will then inform you of the date and time of a new appointment to inspect and adapt your natural gas appliance. However, if your installer adapts your appliance to H gas at the same time as they correct the fault, please have your contract installation company also fill out the completion notification and send this back to ErdgasUmstellung.

2. The gas appliance has a major fault, a fault could not be corrected or the warning label was not returned
If ErdgasUmstellung detects a major fault in your natural gas appliance, the appliance must be shut down and will be blocked for safety reasons. In this case, you will receive a warning label from the ErdgasUmstellung technician. Get in contact with a listed installation company and have the fault corrected. Once the fault has been corrected, send the warning label back to us with the necessary information. ErdgasUmstellung’s address can be found on the warning label. We will pay the postage for you. Once we have received the warning label, ErdgasUmstellung will then inform you of the date and time of a new appointment to inspect and adapt your appliance. However, if your installer adapts your appliance to H gas at the same time as they correct the fault, please have your contract installation company also fill out the completion notification and send this back to ErdgasUmstellung.

3. The appliance has not been replaced or ErdgasUmstellung has no information about the replacement
If ErdgasUmstellung determines that your appliance cannot be adapted to H gas and none of the listed installation companies are able to adapt your appliance, the appliance must be replaced. If you do not replace the appliance or ErdgasUmstellung does not receive information about the replacement, we will block and seal your natural gas system for safety reasons. Please get in contact with a listed installation company of your choice to have your appliance replaced. Please inform us of the replacement of the appliance using this form .

4. ErdgasUmstellung has not received any communication in relation to the adaptation of the appliance
If your gas appliance has already been adapted by a listed installation company for operation with H gas and ErdgasUmstellung has not been notified of this, your natural gas system will be blocked and sealed. You will receive a block card from our technician. Get in contact with a listed installation company to have the natural gas system put back into operation. For safety reasons, only an approved installation company may remove the seal and unblock the system. Your appliance must be adapted to H gas to be able to ensure the safe operation of your system. If the installation company you commission adapts your appliance to H gas, please send us the completion notification on the back of the block card. ErdgasUmstellung’s address is already printed on the card and ErdgasUmstellung will pay the postage as recipient. If the installation company cannot adapt the appliance to H gas and/or cannot put the appliance back into operation, please contact ErdgasUmstellung via our freephone helpline on (+49 80) 0439-8444 (Mon–Fri, 7 am to 8 pm and Sat, 8 am to 4 pm) or send an e-mail to info@meine-erdgasumstellung.de. Please use the key phrase ‘interruption of supply’.

5. Denial of access or the consumer cannot be reached
If ErdgasUmstellung is unable to access or is denied access to the appliances despite multiple visits to the property and attempts to contact the consumer, we will block your supply. As a last resort, we will block your supply from the street as there is a danger to your life and the lives of other tenants at this point. We will also give you a block card at the same time. The street block can only be lifted by the network operator responsible for the street. In this case, please contact ErdgasUmstellung via our freephone helpline on (+49 80) 0439-8444 (Mon–Fri, 7 am to 8 pm and Sat, 8 am to 4 pm) and use the key phrase ‘interruption of supply’. This is the only way your appliance can be properly adapted and be supplied with H gas.

Who will bear the costs if the supply is blocked?
All costs resulting from the decommissioning and resupplying with natural gas shall be borne by the person responsible for preventing the adaption of the natural gas system to H gas or failing to provide the information concerning the replacement appliance.

Technical questions and appliances

Practically all natural gas heating systems already installed can be adapted to operate with the properties of the new type of gas. However, if your heating system is technically inadequate, unsafe to operate or can no longer be repaired, you may need to replace it with a new one.

No, you will keep your current natural gas meter. Close to the conversion date, all that is necessary is a meter reading.

We have to identify all appliances running on natural gas in all private households and companies within our grid area. As part of the survey, we gather the appliance data which will be relevant for the adaptation later. The survey includes the following action in particular:

  • Identification of the natural gas appliance and the CE/DE mark by way of the name plate
  • Photographing the natural gas system
  • Checking the meter number and recording the meter reading
  • Exhaust gas measurement during full and part load operation
  • Measurement of gas concentration level in room air
  • Assessment of the general state of the appliance and pipework
  • Fixing an inspection sticker to the natural gas appliance

If we detect faults during the survey, we will give you a warning label there and then. You will have to get an HVAC business of your choice to correct the faults named on it. This is for your own safety. The basic principle is that without a successful survey and adaptation, safe operation of your natural gas appliances with H gas cannot be guaranteed.

During our inspection, we will collect all the relevant data needed to prepare and carry out the adaptation of your natural gas appliances.
Before making any adaptations, we will first come and visit you to make sure that the natural gas appliance is in working order. An important part of this work is replacing the L-gas burner nozzle with a version that is suitable for H-gas.

The technician will bring the appropriate nozzle with them.
Depending on the appliance manufacturer and model, the technician will also make additional adjustments, for example, to the natural gas appliance’s control unit.

The technician will then affix a sticker to the natural gas appliance’s housing and type plate indicating that the adaptation was successfully carried out.
The technician will document the entire process by taking photographs. It takes around 30 to 60 minutes to adapt a single natural gas appliance.
After having been successfully adapted, the appliance is fully functional and can be operated with H gas.

The ErdgasUmstellung technicians have detected one or more faults in your natural gas appliance during their survey and have issued you with the corresponding warning label. The concern about your appliance stated on the label must be addressed within four weeks.
The warning label will help you to take the right action to eliminate the fault. The second side of the label names four different types of faults in a bullet point list. If the technician has marked one or more of the first three fault types, please inform ONLY an installer or contract installation company (CIC) to correct the fault. On the other hand, the chimney sweep is responsible for all structural concerns (faults listed under point 4).

Get the specialist operative or company to confirm successful fault correction on the reverse of the warning label and then send it to ErdgasUmstellung. See the warning label for the postal address to send it to. ErdgasUmstellung will pay the postage.

The trade and chimney sweep associations responsible for your region can help you find a contract installer. Authorised tradesmen and chimney sweeps can also be found in Yellow Pages.

As the system operator, you are responsible for ensuring that your system works safely. That’s why it’s in your interest to have any faults inspected and corrected. If any faults detected are not corrected, then we may not be able to adapt your natural gas appliance for H gas usage. In this case, further operation of your system will not be possible after the conversion from L to H gas.

We detected a smell of gas at your customer system. Therefore, for your own safety as well as the safety of others, we were forced to shut off and seal your natural gas system. You also received a notice of fault card from our technician. As noted on the card, please have your system inspected by an approved installation company. For example, contact your local municipal trades association or guild for plumbing-heating-air conditioning trades. For safety reasons, only an authorised installer may remove the seal and reopen the gas connection after the defect has been fixed. Once this has been done, please return the fault card filled out by the installation company to us.

If a fault occurs with your natural gas appliance following a visit from one of our technicians, please be sure to contact us on our freephone helpline on (+49 80) 0439 8444 (Mon–Fri, 7 am to 8 pm and Sat, 8 am to 4 pm) or send us an e-mail at info@meine-erdgasumstellung.de.

ErdgasUmstellung technicians will then quickly determine the cause of the fault. If the fault is the result of work undertaken by ErdgasUmstellung, we will take care of the repairs and cover any resulting costs.
If this is not the case, the repairs must be carried out by a contract installation company (CIC) at the cost of the appliance owner.
ErdgasUmstellung will not cover any costs that result from the unauthorised commissioning of a CIC.

Below you will find reasons why it may not be possible to adapt your natural gas appliance:

1) It is technically impossible

If it is not possible to adapt your natural gas appliance for technical reasons, you will not be allowed to use your consumer appliance according to the German Technical and Scientific Association for Gas and Water’s Technical Regulations for Gas Installations from the conversion date. We recommend replacing the natural gas appliance at the earliest stage possible to prevent disruption to your natural gas supply.

2) It is not approved for the German market

We require both the type plate and proof of the appliance’s approval for the German market in order to correctly classify your natural gas appliance. If your consumer appliance has not been approved in Germany, you will not be able to use your consumer appliance according to the German Technical and Scientific Association for Gas and Water’s Technical Regulations for Gas Installations. In this case, you will have to decommission your natural gas appliance immediately.

3) Parts are not available

In spite of our strenuous efforts, it may so happen that we are unable to procure the necessary spare parts from the manufacturer to adapt your consumer appliance for H gas operation. This means that you will no longer be able to use your consumer device in its current state according to the German Technical and Scientific Association for Gas and Water’s Technical Regulations for Gas Installations from the conversion date. If ErdgasUmstellung is unable to adapt your appliance for the natural gas conversion due to a lack of materials, then you can also get a second opinion from a listed installation company.

In any case, we will notify you after our inspection in writing regarding the findings and explain the exact reason why it is not possible to adapt your appliance. We can also offer you support in carrying out any necessary measures. You will find the reasons as to why ErdgasUmstellung is carrying out this work in the Energy Industry Act (Section 19a Energiewirtschaftsgesetz, EnWG) and in the German Technical and Scientific Association for Gas and Water’s (Deutscher Verein des Gas- und Wasserfaches, DVGW) worksheet G 680.

We are happy to answer any questions you may have – in this case, please contact us by calling our free helpline at (+49-800) 4398-444 (Monday to Friday, 7 am to 8 pm and Saturday, 8 am to 4 pm) or by sending an e-mail to us at info@meine-erdgasumstellung.de.

If we determine based on data collected on your appliance that your natural gas appliance does not fulfil the technical requirements for safe operation using H gas, then you will have to take action. You will have to replace your appliance for it to be safely supplied with natural gas in the future. You can conveniently notify us of your new appliance online.

PLEASE NOTE: Your notification regarding your new appliance must be sent three months before the conversion to H gas at the latest so that we can collect data on the new appliance and adapt it for H gas at the right time, using the necessary replacement material where applicable.

If we at ErdgasUmstellung do not think it is possible to adapt your consumer appliance due to a lack of original spare parts, we still recommend you replace your appliance promptly.
In such cases, an approved installation company may be able to assist and take over the adaption of your appliance.
Please send us the feedback form enclosed in our notice letter, including the cost estimate from the installation company, no later than three months before the date of the planned conversion date so that we can verify whether the costs have been approved.

Who can help with repairs, adaptations or new installations?

  • To find a contract installer, you can refer to the trade associations responsible for your region. You can find specialist companies for the Bergisches Land region in the RIA directory [in German] (Regional Installer Committee Bergisches Land Gas/Water). Similarly, you can find a chimney sweep through your local chimney sweep association. Numerous companies and chimney sweeps are also listed in the yellow pages.
  • If you have questions related to energy supply, natural gas users can take advantage of the free, supplier-independent energy advice service provided by the NRW consumer advice centre, which is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economics. They advise consumers on subsidy options when purchasing a new heating appliance or on the use of renewable energies. You can find further information online at www.verbraucherzentrale.nrw/energieberatung [in German] or by telephone (+49-21) 1339-96556.
  • Natural gas users can also ask their energy supplier or their regional supplier about offers and possible support programs.
  • The German state-owned KfW bank supports the installation of low-consumption heating systems with low-interest loans and substantial subsidies to help reduce the amount of carbon dioxide produced as a result of burning fossil fuels. You can find more information at: https://www.erdgas.info/neue-heizung/foerderung-neue-heizung/kfw-und-bafa-foerderung/ [in German].
  • Since a functioning heating system is a basic need, welfare recipients are also eligible for support should they need it. Please enquire with your responsible authority.

We are happy to answer any questions you may have – in this case, please contact us by calling our free helpline at (+49-800) 4398-444 (Monday to Friday, 7 am to 8 pm and Saturday, 8 am to 4 pm) or by sending an e-mail to us at info@meine-erdgasumstellung.de.

ErdgasUmstellung is involved with organising the conversion to natural gas, as well as the relevant installation and adaptation of natural gas appliances. Unlike contract installation companies (CIC), we do not carry out maintenance work on natural gas appliances under any circumstances. By law, ErdgasUmstellung is not permitted to put itself in a sales position and sell spare parts or equipment.

Cost

In your bill, natural gas will continue to be measured in terms of ‘energy quantity’ (ct/kWh). The kilowatt-hour rate will not change at all during adaptation.
The charge for the quantity of natural gas delivered (ct/m³) will rise to reflect the higher energy content of H gas. At the same time, however, you will consume less gas in all your natural gas appliances so that in total the cost of your natural gas supply will not change at all. Therefore, the ‘new’ gas will not be more expensive because of the conversion.

Please ask your supplier for the precise charge for the natural gas supplied to you.

Inspection and adaptation of the natural gas appliances, and any subsequent quality control by ErdgasUmstellung are free of charge to you. We only ask that you make time for the technician’s visits, in order to ensure that the conversion goes smoothly.

The costs will be absorbed into the grid usage charges, so that all users of natural gas in Germany will bear the same share of the costs on the solidarity principle.

No, in order to ensure the safe supply of natural gas, in the majority of natural gas appliances only the jets will need to be replaced and new supply pipes for this will not be needed in your flat / house. Any costs incurred through the conversion will be distributed throughout the country between all customers via the system charges – in accordance with the provisions of § 19a Energy Industry Act.

If you, as owner of a natural gas appliance, install a new natural gas appliance because of the natural gas conversion in your grid area and if it cannot be adapted in the conversion process, you will have a claim to reimbursement of the cost against the grid operator. Some new natural gas appliances will be among these but also systems operated with oil or district heating.This includes new natural gas appliances that adapt automatically to H gas, but also, for example, devices that are operated with oil, district heating or electricity.

The claim to reimbursement comes to 100 euro for each new appliance.

The conditions are as follows:

  • The new appliance must have been installed after your written notification from your grid operator of the conversion and before adaptation of the existing natural gas consumer appliance to the new type of gas in the particular grid area.
  • The owner must be able to prove to the grid operator that the old appliance has been removed and the new appliance has been bought.
  • Gas supply grid operators must publish each technical conversion date two years previously on their internet pages and inform the affected customers of this in writing. This also includes reference to the claim to cost reimbursement for new appliances.
  • Please search here for the application form for reimbursement.

This countrywide cost apportionment, which is regulated by law, distributes the costs of effecting the conversion. Since 2017, natural gas grid operators have been receiving a standard cost apportionment from all natural gas customers. This sum is charged for the market area conversion and is additional to the system charges.

The owner of the natural gas appliance is responsible for ensuring that it works perfectly, so the owner must pay for any fault correction. If you are not the owner of the natural gas appliance, please pass the warning label to the owner immediately (e.g. landlord or building administrator). Under the Energy Industry Act, ErdgasUmstellung is not authorised to carry out fault correction itself for reasons governed by competition law.

Safety

No, to ensure the safe supply of gas, most appliances will only need to have their gas jets replaced. There will be no differences in the everyday use of your appliances. There should be no smell of gas, but if there is, please open doors and windows and telephone Technical Support as soon as possible.

You cannot see, smell or taste carbon monoxide (CO). The gas effortlessly penetrates through walls and floors. Regular maintenance of your natural gas devices and the use of an approved carbon monoxide detector, which can be installed in interior spaces in the same way as smoke detectors, offer effective protection against carbon monoxide building up to deadly levels. We will perform an exhaust measurement to check carbon monoxide levels as part of our visit to inspect and adjust your natural gas devices.

The Initiative for the Prevention of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning (Initiative zur Prävention von Kohlenmonoxid-Vergiftungen) explains the dangers posed by carbon monoxide and how you can recognise the signs of carbon monoxide poisoning, as well as how to prevent it, with the ‘CO macht K.O.’  campaign. (Information in German)

Legal questions

No. Natural gas appliances which at the user’s request are not adapted must be isolated from the grid by Rheinische NETZGesellschaft mbH (RNG). Continued use with wrong settings could otherwise create risks of damage to the appliance or its complete destruction and even put life and limb at risk.

For this, please refer to your natural gas supplier.

Natural gas conversion or market area conversion is required by law and is governed by § 19a Energy Industry Act [EnWG].

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