Massachusetts’ natural gas distribution companies have added 200,000 residential customers since 2000, employ more than 4,000 workers directly and pay over $100 million annually in city and town property taxes.
These are some of the key findings from a new Northeast Gas Association (NGA) report, 2017 State of the Industry Report: The Economic Benefits of Natural Gas in Massachusetts, which also found distribution companies have cut their greenhouse gas emissions by two-thirds since 1990 .
The 32-page report is intended as a synopsis of the natural gas economy in Massachusetts and is based on macroeconomic data derived from various consumer, infrastructure, environmental and industry reports. It is part of the Association’s Massachusetts Energy Reliability Awareness Campaign launched earlier this year and summarizes publicly available information to highlight the role of natural gas within Massachusetts’ economy.
“This report documents and reaffirms an important reality: Natural gas is good for Massachusetts,” said NGA President & CEO Thomas Kiley. “Every day natural gas delivers enormous benefits to our state’s economy and environment.’’
Some of the report’s other findings:
- The percentage of homeowners choosing natural gas for heat has soared in Massachusetts from 38% in 1990 to 51% now, reflecting its competitiveness with heating oil on price, performance, cleanliness and convenience.
- Of all electricity generated in Massachusetts in 2015, 65.4% came from power plants fueled by natural gas, a number that will only rise with the June shutdown of the Brayton Point plant in Somerset and the June 2019 shutdown of Pilgrim Station in Plymouth.
- Natural gas utilities and distribution companies employ members of 23 union locals affiliated with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, United Steelworkers, and Utility Workers Union of America, and, beyond their dedicated union employees, support hundreds of additional jobs at vendors and contractors.
- Natural gas distribution companies support dozens of charities and local nonprofit organizations across Massachusetts with financial donations and volunteer time.
- Natural gas systems now account for just 1.1% of all greenhouse gas emissions in Massachusetts, down from 2.6% in 1990, due to the utilities’ actions to replace older pipe and make other efficiency gains.
- Report:Massachusetts accounts for 1.6% of the natural gas consumed in the United States – but 13.3% of all natural gas efficiency program spending, reflecting the Mass Save program offerings, which are sponsored by the gas and electric utilities.