What is “town gas”?

“Town gas” is the term used to refer to the type of gas used to power the UK before the year 1967. This “town gas” was manufactured in power plants, most often from coal. In the decade of the 1950s, reserves of natural gas were discovered in the North Sea. At that time, electricity was a more popular option for energy supply than “town gas”. This, in part, was due to the fact that electricity could be supplied via a national grid setup which promoted easy installation in new housing developments up and down the country. In 1967, “town gas” was abandoned in favour of natural gas from these North Sea reserves. This was a new, safe, cleaner and green way of supplying gas to the UK customer.

“Town gas”: how has home and company gas supply changed since then?

Much has changed in national gas supply since 1967. Below, we take a look at how.

The dangers of “town gas”

In the 1960s, “town gas” fell out of use, to be replaced with natural gas that was a safe, clean option. “Town gas” was produced by burning coal and was not a safe option for supplying gas to homes and customers in the UK, as coal gas is poisonous.

Prolonged exposure to coal gas would lead to unconsciousness and potential death. “Town gas” was also highly polluting, with a hugely negative impact on the environment. So, in terms of safety and energy pollution levels, “town gas” was a poor option.

What makes natural gas a better option?

Natural gas is not poisonous, making it a safe option for use in the home. However, incomplete combustion and gas leaks can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning, which poses a lethal threat to the residents in a gas powered home. Natural gas is itself odourless, so it has a substance called mercaptan added so that customers can detect if there is a gas leak in the home.

This is vital to ensuring the safety of your home boiler, heating and hot water installation if they run on gas power. Remember, it’s easier to detect gas leaks from your home installation thanks to the artificial scent added to the natural gas supply.

Natural gas is a fossil fuel, but burns cleanly in comparison with other fossil fuels. So, that makes natural gas a better energy option in terms of impact on the environment - talking gas, that is, as renewable energy sources are the best option for protecting the environment. It’s still vital to reduce our energy consumption to a minimum, too!

Ensuring natural gas is safe to use

Natural gas is now used to power heating and hot water installations in many homes throughout the UK, with many natural gas suppliers providing these services from home to home.

Your gas company will ensure that your gas boiler is in safe working condition with regular maintenance of the boiler installation. This will be carried out by your gas supplier’s professional engineers on a home visit to service your gas boiler. This will also ensure that your boiler is working safely and energy efficiently to maintain your home heating and hot water at the levels you wish.

“Town gas” is a thing of the past

So, we’ve seen that “town gas” - as it’s technically defined - stopped being supplied to homes in the UK back in the decade of the 1960s. However, you might still hear the term “town gas” or “city gas” used to refer to the gas supplied to each home within an urban area.

This is merely a turn of phrase: “town gas” actually stopped being supplied decades ago as it was a less safe and more polluting option when compared to natural gas.

Natural gas is now distributed to customers across the UK via various gas supply services. Each company offers their own gas prices and services, so customers are free to choose which gas company they want to supply their gas.

Natural gas services and prices

The prices of gas do vary, depending on the gas company you choose for your home energy supply. Each customer can choose which company they select to supply their gas, whether it’s for their home heating or hot water installation or other energy services.

Gas suppliers usually employ a large number of professional engineers in order to provide customer services to keep all home boiler installations safe and functional. These engineers will make a home visit at least once a year to service your boiler and to replace any boiler parts with new components as necessary.

If your gas supply also heats your home hot water, your plumbing will require separate services to maintain.

In terms of natural gas prices, many gas suppliers are driven to offer the lowest prices possible in order to support customers to cut their energy bills. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that price isn’t everything: it’s also vital to ensure that we consider our environmental impact when we’re looking at switching to a gas company.

Whichever gas supplier you choose to provide the energy for your home heating and hot water installation, the best way to reduce the price you pay for gas is to reduce your consumption of gas across the board.

This is the best option for your bills and the best option for your carbon footprint, too!

Now that low safety, high pollution “town gas” is thankfully a thing of the past, natural gas is safe to use for home energy. Of course, regular boiler services are key to ensuring your home gas installation remains safe and efficient to use. Your gas company’s engineers will ensure these services are effectively carried out, boosting your gas installation safety levels year after year.

Keep your gas installation safe and efficient with regular services and make sure you choose the right gas supply company for your requirements. As the customer, you’re primed to choose your supply company, so check in on gas price, services and environmental impact.