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What the Natural Gas Utilities aren't telling you

Methane Gas is 20x more powerful of a greenhouse than Carbon Dioxide.

When you think of Oil heat what comes to mind? Dirty, expensive, foreign and inefficient fuel source what about Natural Gas? The Natural Gas utilities want you to believe that their product is cleaner, more efficient, domestic, and better for the environment.  This is what they are telling you, but it's not the whole story about Oil heat or Natural Gas.

First we would like to paint the modern picture that is Oil and heating with Oil.  The United States is projected to became the worlds' largest producer of Oil by 2015. That means that the Oil that is used to heat your home will come from and stay in the US.

Natural Gas comes from the US too, right? Yes it does however the Oil that is delivered to your home helps to keep people in your local community employed. While Natural Gas utility companies are monopolies and like National Grid can be owned and headquartered outside of the US.  Local Oil companies are trusted and known throughout the community, supporting charities, high schools, sports clubs, and the economy.

Oil is a dirty and environmentally harmful heating source that is contributing to greenhouse gases.  While it is true that like our cars and other applications that burn any fuel, oil heating systems give off carbon dioxide. Natural Gas pipelines leak methane Gas which is 20x more powerful of a greenhouse than carbon dioxide.

The Natural Gas infrastructure was originally put into place around World War II, and the main pipes that bring Natural Gas throughout the country haven't been upgraded since then. This leads to cracks and gaps which leak out Methane gas. Natural Gas is about 95% Methane gas, in a 2011 study surveyors found 4000 leaks just in the city of Boston and 6000 this year in Washington D.C.

The utility companies have no plan to upgrade these pipes and if they were willing to it would take 67 years to upgrade the pipes. This isn't in the fore front of the push to convert to Natural Gas because it is a colorless and odorless gas, however it is a major problem in combating climate change and protecting our environment.

This past winter was one of the coldest in over 30 years, this put a strain on budgets and the infrastructure to supply fuel to homes.  Like a highway with too much demand that slows down to a crawl, the Natural Gas pipes during this past winter were unable to keep up with the demand here in New England.  This left homes without proper heat and in some cases affected the supply and price of Electricity as the electric companies use Natural Gas to produce electricity.  

As more and more homes converting to Natural Gas without the proper infrastructure to keep up with the demand and with the old pipes cracking, Natural Gas isn't the perfect fuel source you are led to believe.


Robert Stahelski

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