Because an entire gas network is interconnected – from generators, to transmission, to local distribution – it can be affected by unplanned outages.

These can be caused by natural events such as earthquakes and land-subsidence, but most likely by pipes being accidentally damaged by excavation or other construction work. Technical problems or equipment failure can also cause outages.

If you are planning to excavate – the first rule is to check before you dig! Please ph 0800 FIRST GAS or email us or visit beforeudig.co.nz to get network maps, close approach consents and permits to work.

If you hit a pipe – follow these directions:

  • Switch off all machinery and remove all sources of ignition, including mobile phones.
  • Move at least six metres away (100 metres for a transmission pipeline) and call the fire service on 111.
  • Evacuate the immediate area.
  • Leave the damaged pipe to vent.
  • DO NOT try to cover the damaged pipe with any material, including digger buckets.
  • DO NOT start any vehicles for removal.
  • DO NOT attempt to extinguish ignited gas fires.
  • DO NOT inhale fumes.
  • Call us immediately on 0800 734 567

If you smell a gas leak in your home or at work:

  • Call the fire service on 111 if you are concerned
  • Do not operate light or electrical switches
  • Turn of any gas appliance that are on
  • Do not smoke
  • Do not use your mobile phones or devices
  • Open the doors and windows to ventilate the building
  • Leave the house or building
  • Turn the gas meter off, if you know where the gas meter is.
    • Your gas meter is located outside the house. The valve on the service pipe only requires a quarter turn to move from ‘on’ to ‘off’. The gas supply is off/closed when it is horizontal to the pipe
    • If your meter valve does not have a handle, use a wrench or a spanner. Give the valve a 1/4 turn clockwise (i.e. 12 – 3 o’clock) to turn it off.
  • Call us immediately on 0800 734 567

What should I do during a gas outage?

  • Turn appliances off. Make sure your stove and all heaters are turned off. If you have a gas hot water heater, turn it off too. This ensures they don’t come back on without you noticing, or if you’re not at home, when the gas supply is restored.
  • Relight gas appliances. When advised by one of our representatives that the gas supply has been restored, relight your gas appliances. Ensure you light all pilots, including pilots on hot water heaters

First Gas supplies more than 60,000 customers through a network of over 4,800km of distribution pipelines in Northland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, East Coast and the Kapiti Coast. Most of these pipelines are located in road reserves, however in some cases these pipes cross private property.

Gas Distribution pipelines are laid at varying depths, generally between 400mm to 1200mm deep, however alterations to the ground cover may reduce or increase the depths in certain areas.

Before planning to do any digging or construction work on your property or road frontage, refer to our Working Near our Pipelines page, and lodge an enquiry at www.beforeudig.co.nz or by calling 0800 248 344. If there are gas distribution pipelines on your property you will receive plans showing their location. If you will be working near one of our strategic pipelines, we will contact you to arrange for a Close Approach Consent to be issued to you.

For general enquiries about gas distribution pipelines call us on 0800 FIRST GAS (0800 347 784).

As First Gas owns and operates over 2,200 kilometres of high pressure gas transmission pipelines throughout the North Island and manages over 600km of easements for other pipelines owners, you may own or be living or working on a property that is crossed by buried transmission pipelines.

High pressure gas transmission pipelines are located in registered easements where they cross private property. The terms and conditions of easements provides pipeline owners with rights of access to inspect and maintain the pipelines, and set some controls to prevent damage to the pipelines caused by external interference.

You may see our staff from time to time as they carry out inspection and maintenance activities. We will notify you before any First Gas staff or contractors come onto your property.

Easement widths vary but they are generally 12 metres wide for a single pipelines and increase by 4 metres for each additional pipeline.

The location of high pressure gas and petroleum pipelines are clearly marked [photo e.g.s of signs and marker posts somewhere]. However, signs are an indication only. For your personal safety, and the safety of the pipelines, you must contact us before undertaking any works on or near the easement.

Look out for:

  • Danger signs and white painted fence posts in rural areas
  • White triangular signs at major river and harbour crossings
  • Signs on kerbs, streetlights and power poles in urban areas
  • Marker tape may be buried above the pipeline

High pressure transmission pipelines are buried at a depth of at least 900mm. However, actual depth may vary due to changes in the ground surface since the pipelines were constructed and can result in an increase/decrease in depth.

Pipeline Easement Permits

You must obtain a Pipeline Easement Permit for all works within a pipeline easement or in the road reserve near a high pressure transmission pipeline. The types of work that require a permit include:

  • All excavation works
  • Logging and tree felling
  • Seismic surveys
  • Laying or working on other services
  • Construction of roads and tracks
  • Removing or increasing soil cover
  • Under-boring/Directional drilling
  • Blasting
  • Building construction
  • Operating heavy machinery or vehicles
  • Fencing
  • Planting
  • Deep ripping
  • Drain clearing and construction

We will meet you on site to locate and identify the pipeline, and then issue you with a permit. We require at least two working days’ notice. To arrange for your pipelines location and permit, or if you have any questions about transmission pipeline easements, contact us on 0800 800 393 or locations@firstgas.co.nz.

How you may identify a leak from a gas or petroleum pipeline:

  • Dead or discoloured vegetation
  • Ground water bubbling or frozen
  • An unusual hissing or roaring sound coming from the vicinity of the pipeline or associated facility
  • An unusual odour in the area of the pipeline
  • A fog-like vapour near the ground.

Treat it seriously and:

  • Shut down all machinery
  • Evacuate the area immediately by foot
  • Remove all possible sources of ignition. Do not start up any motor vehicles
  • Call the Fire Service on 111 (if necessary)
  • Call First Gas on 0800 734 567. Emergency procedures will be set in motion and trained staff will be sent to the site
  • Don’t return to the area until you are advised that it is safe to do so

MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL

Please don’t cover up an accident. Let us know. It is much easier and less expensive for us to repair problems when they occur, rather than later.

The Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA) brings new responsibilities for everyone in a workplace. Under the HSWA First Gas is a PCBU (person controlling a business or undertaking).  When accessing your property First Gas must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that others are not put at risk by its work.

First Gas’ access rights in relation to your property are specifically prescribed by the easement registered against the title to that property. However please advise us of any known hazards on your property so that First Gas can advise staff and contractors.

You can notify us by calling 0800 FIRST GAS (0800 347 784) or emailing us on landinfo@firstgas.co.nz.

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