Hillsborough switches on to natural gas

Pictured at Hillsborough Castle are Phoenix Natural Gas Chief Executive Michael McKinstry, Chairman Peter Ritson, Utility Regulator Chairman Bill Emery and board member Teresa Perchard.
Pictured at Hillsborough Castle are Phoenix Natural Gas Chief Executive Michael McKinstry, Chairman Peter Ritson, Utility Regulator Chairman Bill Emery and board member Teresa Perchard.

Phoenix Natural Gas today announced that Hillsborough has become the second area to officially connect to the natural gas network as part of the company’s project to extend the natural gas pipeline in Co Down.

The announcement represents a significant milestone for the company and was marked by a meeting between representatives of Phoenix Natural Gas and the Utility Regulator in Hillsborough.

Following a successful network build, which finished ahead of schedule, the first catchment of properties in Hillsborough are now able to make the switch to natural gas. A total of 2,200 properties are expected to have gas available to them by 2018.

Michael McKinstry, Phoenix Natural Gas Group Chief Executive, said: “In 2015 the Utility Regulator granted Phoenix Natural Gas a licence to extend its natural gas network to an additional 28,000 homes and businesses across 13 new towns in Co Down. I am pleased to mark the connection of our second town in the build programme, following the completion of works in Ballygowan where over 1,000 properties have access to the gas network.

“Navigating a successful build programme throughout all stages of the project is a key focus for us and I am delighted that we have achieved this with minimal disruption to local residents and businesses in Hillsborough.

“Phoenix Natural Gas has over 20 years experience building the natural gas network locally and in that time has established natural gas as the fuel of choice in the licence area of Greater Belfast, where natural gas is available to 320,000 customers.

“The new project to expand the network is exciting and significant, not only for us, but for the new towns we serve, extending the benefits natural gas brings to the economic, social and environmental prosperity of the area.”

Jenny Pyper, Utility Regulator Chief Executive, welcomed the news, saying: “A key focus of the Utility Regulator’s work is to promote the development of the natural gas industry while protecting the interests of consumers. I am delighted to see Hillsborough connect to the natural gas network, providing more choice to local residents and business owners, who will now have the opportunity to avail of the benefits of natural gas. This connection will also significantly improve the utility infrastructure of the area.

“Phoenix Natural Gas began construction of the East Down network in April 2016 and it’s great to see this project gaining momentum, with two areas now live and work under way to connect Annahilt, Ballynahinch and Spa later this year.

“I look forward to more areas connecting to the natural gas network and would like to thank Phoenix Natural Gas for their commitment to the build programme to date.”

The project represents a £60 million private investment by Phoenix Natural Gas and will see 13 towns/villages connect to the natural gas network by 2022 including: Annahilt, Ballygowan, Ballynahinch, Castlewellan, Crossgar, Downpatrick, Dromore, Drumaness, Dundrum, Hillsborough, Newcastle, Saintfield and Spa.

For more information log on to www.phoenixnaturalgas.com or www.uregni.gov.uk