The local gas distribution system can pump up to 100 billion cubic meters of gas per year, while the real demand of gas consumers is only 25% of this capacity. The Law on natural gas market adopted in 2015 has made the priority of consumer needs and this is the prime mover for the transformation of the gas distribution industry carried out by the Regional Gas Company.
Behind the scenes of gas delivery
Emergency dispatch service is on the frontline for customer communication. The safety of millions of households — and at times, even people’s lives — depends on the work of these people. Around 500 emergency dispatch service crews are operating in 16 regions of Ukraine.
Two advanced centralized dispatching stations in Kryvyi Rih and Lutsk have been established. This year dispatching stations will be open at each DSO. The operators use three digital systems RGC EDS, RGS GIS, and RGS Transport to coordinate the work of the emergency workers across regions.
Network maintenance is just as important. The employees of gas distribution companies maintain the equipment and check hundreds of kilometers of gas pipelines a day, using up-to-date mobile laboratories.
The networks are being gradually modernized as well. In the past three years, 1,600 gas control points and 30,000 building regulators have been replaced as well as over 400 kilometers of gas pipelines. Gas distribution companies operating under the RGC brand can perform replacement of entire sections of pipelines without suspending gas delivery using Ravetti STOP/SYSTEM™, which allows providing a shutdown of pipelines in a required part of a network without interruption of gas.
Seeing the great need for sophisticated gas equipment for network modernization, the Regional Gas Company has decided to take the path of construction of new plants. The idea grew into the RGC Production Project.
The first gas equipment plant began operating in May 2019 in Lviv. For its operation, the Lviv plant, which employs 145 people, increased its capacity sixfold. The second plant began its operation in Dnipro in January 2021. It will produce around 1,000 cabinet-type gas control points for the modernization of the networks across the country. In 2021, the third plant located in Vinnytsia is due to come into operation in 2022.
In 2020, the RGC opened a metrological center for inspection of measuring equipment in Kharkiv. It has radically changed the approach to the process of regular inspection of the meters. The RGC Metrological Center is the only metrological enterprise in Eastern Europe to operate on the Smart Factory principle. The center’s capacities allow for quality European-level servicing of 250,000 household gas meters per year.
104 turns into 104.ua
The creation of the 104.ua platform was the first important step in improving services for RGC customers. Now, 104.ua is not just a website, but an integrated service ecosystem with 3.6 million customers having an opportunity to interact with the gas companies through the platform.
The 104.ua brand features mobile apps, chatbots inu messaging apps, interacting with over 1 million users, and the largest in Ukraine network of 150 customer spaces. The 104.ua service is currently working on expanding its presence offline. In March, 65 self-service terminals, which help customers perform the most popular transactions, have been installed.
The redesign is the future
The transformation of the country’s gas distribution network to meet today’s demand is yet another global task of the RGC. Over the past 20 years, natural gas consumption in Ukraine has dropped almost by four times. The gas distribution system needs to change to meet the needs of the customers and the trends in the energy sector.
In recent years, the RGC has already gained some practical experience, having optimized the networks in several populated areas. Gas distribution companies currently have several network optimization projects allowing a reduction of the costs for the maintenance of the system. The search for partners who are willing to get involved in the gas distribution network redesign is on the go.
The RGC is aware that the modernization of the system must take into consideration the latest trends, including the option of transportation of new types of energy like hydrogen within the framework of the European Green Deal.
The Regional Gas Company was the first in Ukraine to begin testing hydrogen gas mixture transportation using the distribution gas pipelines. The RGC joined the EU initiatives — Hydrogen Strategy under the European Green Deal. Clean energy is the future of Europe and Ukraine and this is why, standing on the
threshold of global changes, RGC is implementing its R&D hydrogen project on five experimental test sites in Volyn, Dnipropetrovsk, Zhytomyr, Ivano-Frankivsk and Kharkiv oblasts.