Following similar moves in Connecticut and New York State, Pennsylvania Legislators are now poised to push utilities to expand their distribution systems to make natural gas available to more state homeowners, according to the Tribune Democrat, of Johnston, Pa. and "tribdem.com".
"Sen. Gene Yaw, chairman of the Senate Energy committee, said he hopes to soon unveil legislation that will encourage gas utilities to expand service so that more Pennsylvanians can switch to use natural gas as a heating source", writes the Tribune. "In the past five years, the price of natural gas has dropped 67 percent," said Yaw, a Williamsport Republican. "It's cheaper than heating oil. We think Pennsylvania should be able to take advantage of that."
"Gas industry officials said they are certainly interested in expanding to meet any increase in demand, but they are wary of any plan that would make them absorb costs that would either drain money that could be used to maintain existing and aging infrastructure or force them to pass along rate increases to current customers," according to the story. "Thursday, the PUC voted to fine gas utility, UGI Corp. $500,000 for a 2011 natural gas explosion that killed five people in Allentown. The settlement also requires the Reading-based company to replace all its cast iron pipelines within 14 years and to expand and enhance its testing and monitoring programs."
"In most cases, it only makes sense to extend gas lines into new areas where there is a large commercial or industrial customer setting up shop, then nearby residential customers can hook onto the line, as well. Otherwise, there typically is not enough revenue generated by residential customers to offset the construction costs," explains the Tribune.
But Pennsylvania Legislators may have a different agenda, and the Oilheat Industry needs to pay close attention and be prepared to have their voices heard as more is learned about this legislative.
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