WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Washington Gas, a WGL company (NYSE: WGL), today announced its support of Maryland’s “Natural Gas Infrastructure Expansion and Reinforcement” Act − Senate Bill 778, House Bill 1324 − recently introduced in the Maryland General Assembly. The energy bill proposes statewide expansion of natural gas infrastructure that would lead to additional jobs, economic growth, carbon reduction, and empower more Marylanders to choose natural gas as a clean, affordable and efficient source of energy.
According to Towson University economists, extending the state’s natural gas system to reach underserved and unserved towns promises to generate economic growth, add well paying jobs, lower consumer and business energy spend, and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. A recent survey reveals seventy percent of Maryland voters polled would favor a program that provides greater access to natural gas.
“The abundance of clean, affordable natural gas is a key driver of economic development, supports carbon footprint reduction objectives and provides considerable energy costs savings to consumers,” said Adrian Chapman, president and chief operating officer of Washington Gas and WGL Holdings. “We support the Natural Gas Infrastructure Expansion and Reinforcement Act and look forward to the opportunity to deliver the benefits of reliable and affordable natural gas to more customers in Maryland.”
“As Maryland counties compete against other states to attract advanced manufacturing and other energy-intensive industries, the availability of natural gas infrastructure and supply can be a competitive game changer,” said Dr. Michaeal Galiazzo, president of the Regional Manufacturing Institute (RMI) of Maryland. “The absence of such infrastructure puts Maryland at a competitive disadvantage.” RMI is a non-profit 501-C6 manufacturing advocacy group representing the interests of manufacturers statewide through programs and services.
Report Identifies Economic Benefits for Maryland
"Economic and Fiscal Impacts of Expanding the Natural Gas Infrastructure in Maryland," an independently prepared report recently released by the Regional Economic Studies Institute (RESI), Towson University, is based on a projected ten-year period of construction, expansion, and installation (2016-2026). Key findings of the Towson University study include:
- An estimated 134 additional miles of gas mains to the existing state infrastructure to accommodate potential new natural gas customers.
- As a result of construction investment and conversion activity over ten years, an average of 7,318 jobs would be supported each year.
- An average annual savings per household of $806 over heating oil customers and $1,705 for existing propane customers.
- Lower greenhouse emissions to meet aggressive Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) targets and other federally mandated standards.
- Projected revenue increases of $19.6 million in new yearly state and local tax revenues over a ten-year period.
- More than 270,200 new natural gas customers throughout the state forecasted by 2026, including residential and commercial/industrial.
Washington Gas commissioned the independently produced study with other Maryland local distribution companies (LDCs), including Baltimore Gas and Electric, Chesapeake Utilities, Columbia Gas of Maryland, and Elkton Gas.
Survey of Maryland Voters: Favor Greater Natural Gas Access
Led by Gonzales Research & Marketing Strategies, the survey was conducted from January 11 through January 16, 2016, and included 819 registered voters in Maryland. A cross-section of interviews occurred in each jurisdiction within the state to reflect general election voting patterns.
Polling revealed seventy percent of Marylanders who currently do not use natural gas as an energy source favor a program that would provide greater access. Other highlights include:
- Among Maryland households who don’t have access to natural gas, nearly 70% would consider switching to natural gas as an energy source.
- Eighty-seven percent of those who now use natural gas think it’s an important factor that a typical home in Maryland using natural gas saves on average of $700 to $1,000 per year in fuel costs, and releases 15 to 50 percent less GHG emissions than homes supplied by oil and propane sources.
- Among households that don’t currently use natural gas, 71% think it’s important that a typical home using natural gas saves $700 to $1,000 per year in fuel costs and releases 15 to 50 percent less greenhouse gas emissions than homes supplied by oil and propane sources.
About Washington Gas
Washington Gas Light Company is a regulated natural gas utility providing safe, reliable natural gas service to more than 1.1 million customers in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia. A subsidiary of WGL Holdings, Inc., the company has been providing energy to residential, commercial and industrial customers for more than 166 years.
WGL (NYSE: WGL), headquartered in Washington, D.C., is a leading source for clean, efficient and diverse energy solutions. With activities and assets across the U.S., WGL consists of Washington Gas, WGL Energy, WGL Midstream and Hampshire Gas. WGL provides options for natural gas, electricity, green power and energy services, including generation, storage, transportation, distribution, supply and efficiency. Our calling as a company is to make energy surprisingly easy for our employees, our community and all our customers. Whether you are a homeowner or renter, small business or multinational corporation, state and local or federal agency, WGL is here to provide Energy Answers. Ask Us. For more information, visit us at www.wgl.com.