The Center for Rural Pennsylvania has released a new report on the potential demand for natural gas service to residential households in three regions of the state which found half or more of households would not connect to natural gas regardless of the upfront costs or payback period.
The report was the result of as directed by Senate Resolution 29 (Yaw-R- Lycoming) which directed the Center to study the deployment of natural gas distribution infrastructure by collecting and analyzing information on--
-- estimated demand for natural gas service in unserved and underserved areas of the Commonwealth;
-- estimated price consumers are willing to pay for access or conversion to natural gas service;
-- regional differences in consumer demand and willingness to pay for natural gas service; and
-- relevant economic information on the costs and benefits to expand natural gas distribution infrastructure.
The Center conducted a survey of 1,020 households in 15 counties in Northcentral, Southcentral and Southeastern PA and found--
-- Half or more of the households surveyed would not connect to natural gas under any cost/ savings scenario. The reluctance to connect related to worry about future increases in the cost of natural gas, the hassle of installing new lines and equipment and the inability to afford upfront costs.
-- From 17 to 23 percent of those surveyed in Southcentral and Southeastern PA indicated a probability of connecting to natural gas service and from 26-32 percent in Northcentral PA.
-- Very few respondents lived in homes incapable of being converted to natural gas due to the inability to install pipes or ducts.
-- The typical household faces upfront costs of $6,000 to connect to gas service with a potential annual savings on heating bills of $1,000.A copy of the report is available online.