Why does the natural gas need to be converted?
The natural gas that you are currently being supplied with in our distribution area comes mainly from sources in the Netherlands. In the medium term, natural gas extraction in that country is declining, with the result that this country is gradually turning to natural gas mainly from Norway and other sources. These sources are reliable over the long term.
Natural gas is a natural product and contains different levels of energy depending on where it is found. Natural gas from the Netherlands is called L gas (L stands for ‘low’ and has a lower energy content) and natural gas from Norway or Russia is called H gas (H stands for ‘high’ because it has a higher energy content).
The conversion process from L gas to H gas, known as ‘market area conversion’, has been under way throughout the German gas supply industry since 2015. This affects north and west Germany, which has been supplied with natural gas from the Netherlands from the mid-1960s. Between 2020 and 2029, the Rhineland will also gradually convert from the increasingly scarce L gas to the future-proof H gas.
The political and market developments in Europe currently have no impact on the mandate of the natural gas market transition (also known as the natural gas conversion), which is anchored in Section 19a of the Germany Energy Industry Act (Energiewirtschaftsgesetz). We will not deviate from our mandate to convert natural gas appliances and will continue with the market transition in line with the long-term planning that has been coordinated between all the relevant stakeholders throughout Germany.
All appliances running on natural gas in domestic and commercial premises – for example, heating systems or natural gas cookers – will need to be adapted technically to allow them to run safely on H gas. The grid area of Rheinische NETZGesellschaft mbH (RNG) has around 500,000 of these appliances.
Who will carry out the natural gas conversion?
Surveying, adapting and quality control of all natural gas appliances will be carried out by specific certificated specialist companies on behalf of ErdgasUmstellung, an RNG brand. Every natural gas customer will be informed in writing about forthcoming dates, personal visits by the technicians and any necessary work. When visiting your premises, every ErdgasUmstellung employee will be able to identify himself by presenting his works identity card and a letter of authorisation and by quoting your personal identification number (PIN). You can find this PIN in our covering letters about the survey or adaptation visit.
What costs will I incur?
Generally speaking, you will not incur any direct costs as a result of the natural gas conversion. We will undertake adaptation of your natural gas appliances for you and the costs will be carried by RNG as your responsible distribution grid operator. Subsequently, the costs will be distributed among all natural gas customers throughout Germany on the solidarity principle and recharged through the grid usage charge. This is the procedure prescribed in the legislation. As regards everyday use, nothing will change for you because of the conversion to the new H gas. You will use your natural gas appliances in the same way as before.