Contact: Dave Steuber
March 26, 2012
NORWALK—State Senator Bob Duff (D-Norwalk) and House Minority Leader Lawrence F. Cafero Jr. (R-Norwalk) today announced bipartisan support for natural gas expansion as a state policy for Connecticut.
They believe the state needs to take steps through legislation and regulation that would streamline the process for expanding the natural gas system to offer more energy options to Connecticut homes and businesses.
Nationally, about half of all homes are heated by natural gas. However, in Connecticut less than one-third of homes are heated with gas. At today’s prices, fuel cost savings could cut a household energy budget by 40 percent. If half of the homes that heat with fuel oil opted to convert to natural gas, the state’s total residential energy costs would decrease by $250 million annually, and their supply would be from domestic, rather than international sources. In addition, conversion from fuel oil to natural gas will help cut down emissions by 13 to 23 percent.
Expansion of natural gas infrastructure would also create thousands of local, skilled jobs and increase economic growth beginning this year, and extending for the duration of system expansion.
Senator Duff and Representative Cafero asked Yankee Gas, the state’s largest natural gas utility, what could be done to make natural gas available to more of the state’s residents. Yankee Gas indicated while it is willing to invest in pipeline expansion, the state, as part of its overall energy policy, needs to adopt a more integrated and efficient process for justifying and financing those expansions. Yankee Gas has several expansion projects on the drawing board in Norwalk and Darien this year.
“Constituents have been contacting me. They see the price differential and they want to take advantage of it,” Senator Duff said. “With the discovery of new, domestic natural gas supplies right in our back yard, now is the perfect time to take advantage of expanding our state’s natural gas infrastructure. Our neighboring states are moving forward and we need to ensure CT is not left behind.”
Representative Cafero added: “Homeowners can reduce their monthly bills; local businesses can improve their competitiveness and hire additional workers; and schools and governments would be able to use more of their budgets for programs and services and less for energy.”
“In the long term I think we need to free ourselves from fossil fuels, but in the meantime we need to have every possible energy option available. I would welcome a natural gas option. It is a cleaner burner fuel than oil,” said Larry Losio, a longtime Norwalk resident who takes a keen interest in environmental and energy issues. “I also am a believer in free market forces and know that the more options we have the greater the likelihood we can drive cost down.”
The current process for gas expansion makes it challenging to find and develop natural gas expansion projects.
“We, too, are hearing from homeowners and businesses who want to take advantage of the great value of natural gas,” said Yankee Gas President Rodney Powell. “By working with the state to develop an integrated expansion program, we will be able to make the investment in the infrastructure that can deliver that value today and into the future.”
“Our companies, Southern Connecticut Gas and Connecticut Natural Gas, are certainly bullish on converting customers to natural gas heating. We are genuinely excited about partnering with the state and others to remove impediments and ease the process of converting for customers,” said Anthony Marone, UIL Vice President of Business Services.
Legislative Office Building
Hartford, CT 06106-1591
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