Energy. Environment. Economy.

Senate Panel Approves Bills to Expand Natural Gas Services


About half of all Pennsylvania households use natural gas for heating.

A pair of bills moving through the state legislature aim to give consumers more access to Pennsylvania’s abundant natural gas reserves.

Sen. Gene Yaw (R-Lycoming) is the primary sponsor of Senate Bills 738 and 739. Although he lives in the midst of the Marcellus Shale drilling, he doesn’t have the option of natural gas service at his own home.

“Pennsylvania has one of the largest gas deposits in the world and the citizens can’t take advantage of it.”

Both bills were approved by the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy committee today. Yaw chairs the committee and says he hopes they come up for a vote in a the full chamber by next month.

Senate Bill 738, known as the Natural Gas Consumer Access Act, promotes the extension of gas lines to customers who would bear the cost themselves, over time. It requires natural gas utilities to submit a three-year plan to the state Public Utility Commission (PUC) for expansion projects to increase service.

Senate Bill 739 amends a 2008 law to promote alternative energy. The measure would shift $15 million out of a fund designed to promote high-efficiency or “green” buildings and use it instead for grants to help expand natural gas services to schools, hospitals, and small businesses.

Senator Jim Ferlo (D- Allegheny) objected to moving the money.

“You’re raiding a fund that, unfortunately, has not been effectively administered,” he told Yaw, “I’m loath to just give it out to the oil and gas industry.”

Yaw pointed out the fund has $25 million for green buildings, so his bill would still leave $10 million.

“The money has been in that fund since 2008, and it’s never been utilized,” said Yaw.

A spokeswoman for the PUC says the commission does not track whether consumers have access to natural gas, but they frequently get phone calls from people in urban and rural areas seeking gas services.

About half of all Pennsylvania households use natural gas for heating, followed by electricity and oil.




  • Gerard Cook

    .Unfortunately for Pa. news is coming to light on just how ill people working for the fracker’s are becoming. Everything from radiation poisoning, cancer, headaches, rashes, blotches, etc., etc.. Another thing to consider is that the gas itself is harmful. For example: The fracking gas sent through the Spectra Pipeline going into NYC has a 100 times more radioactivity than the NRC considers safe. More recent news coming out in Pa. is the large number of animals getting sick, some are even dying. Bear in mind Pa. , this is just the beginning.

    If there’s a problem with the managing this 25 million dollar fund- FIX IT

    Alternative energies are the cure Pa.. Start using some common sense – Taking money from a source of energy that is not harmful to the health and well being of the commonwealth and placing it one that is harmful is a pro fracking gas mentality that’s borderline fanaticism and absolutely narrow-minded on the true health issues involved with this use of gas.

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