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First Brussels households switch to new natural gas

19:46 01/09/2020

Brussels embarked on a three-year project today to switch residents’ natural gas supply. The capital is phasing out the so-called lean gas from the Netherlands and replacing it with what is referred to as rich gas from other sources.

About half of all Belgians who use natural gas already use rich gas, and now the country is looking to shift the rest. Dwindling reserves of lean gas in the Netherlands have convinced Dutch authorities to phase out exports. Belgium, like some other countries supplied by the Netherlands, is now switching entirely to rich gas, plentiful from other countries, including Norway, the UK and Qatar.

Natural gas that contains more than 95% methane is referred to as lean, while gas with less than 95% is called rich. While some 98% of homes in Belgium have the proper gas installations to convert to rich gas, a few do not.

Homeowners are asked to get their gas units and appliances checked to ensure that they can make the switch. Sometimes minor adjustments need to be made. Those who cannot be switched – usually because the gas boiler or heater is too old – must have it replaced. A website in four languages provides complete information about switching to rich gas.

Today some 51,000 homes in Molenbeek, Berchem-Sainte-Agathe and Koekelberg were converted to rich gas. Next year several more municipalities will make the switch, including Anderlecht and Brussels-City. By the end of 2023, about 500,000 homes in Brussels will have been shifted. The new type of gas should not have any effect on prices.

Photo courtesy gaschanges.be

Written by Lisa Bradshaw