Shale Daily / NGI All News Access

Utilities Partner to Push Natural Gas Using Social Media

Thanks to abundant shale gas supplies and appliance efficiency gains, a homeowner in Connecticut could save $1,800 per year by switching to natural gas heating from fuel oil, according to a trio of utilities in the state that have launched a campaign to get consumers to switch to gas.

"Get Connected!" is a public information and education program created by the Connecticut Natural Gas (CNG), Southern Connecticut Gas (SCG) and Yankee Gas companies. The utilities are using Facebook and Twitter to get the word out with the account name "getconnectedct."

"The goal is to get affordable and cleaner-burning natural gas to homes and businesses in our state," said Anthony Marone, vice president of customer and business services for UIL Holdings Corp., parent of SCG and CNG. "This initiative will make it easier for people to know the facts and determine if they can get connected."

Based on present fuel oil and natural gas prices, the average homeowner heating with natural gas will pay $1,800 less each year than the average homeowner heating with fuel oil. For large commercial businesses including large retail stores, the cost to heat with natural gas is $3,300 less annually than fuel oil. Annual energy bills for large industrial customers heating with natural gas, including manufacturers that use natural gas for heating and production, are $25,000 lower than for their oil-heating competitors.

Demand growth from oil-to-gas conversions in Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts, as well as more gas-fired power generation, are supporting Spectra Energy's Algonquin Incremental Market project, which is expected to be online during the second half of 2016, said Spectra's Bill Yardley, president of U.S. transmission and storage (see Shale Daily, Jan. 17).

"Natural gas customers benefit from both price and efficiency," said Yankee Gas CEO Rod Powell. "Today, natural gas furnaces and boilers are up to 96% efficient, so whether it's for homes or businesses, natural gas is the most cost-effective fuel choice."

CNG delivers natural gas to 160,000 customers in central Connecticut, and SCG serves 178,000 gas customers. Yankee Gas, a Northeast Utilities company, serves more than 213,000 customers in the state.

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