No gas ex­pan­sion this year

En­ergy pro­posal died in ses­sion

Maryland Independent - - News - By TA­MARA WARD tward@somd­news.com Twit­ter: @CalRecTAMARA

Calvert County Board of Com­missioners sup­ported it. Wash­ing­ton Gas sup­ported it. How­ever, the Nat­u­ral Gas In­fra­struc­ture Ex­pan­sion and Re­in­force­ment Act did not get enough sup­port in the Mary­land Gen­eral Assem­bly this past ses­sion.

If en­acted, the en­ergy pro­posal would have ex­panded statewide the nat­u­ral gas in­fra­struc­ture and was pur­ported to cre­ate jobs, spur eco­nomic growth, as­sist Calvert County in at­tract­ing and re­tain­ing busi­ness and ul­ti­mately re­duce the cost of en­ergy for res­i­den­tial and busi­ness con­sumers.

Ac­cord­ing to an in­de­pen­dently pre­pared re­port re­leased by the Re­gional Eco­nomic Stud­ies In­sti­tute, there is an av­er­age an­nual sav­ings per house­hold of $806 over heat­ing oil cus­tomers and $1,705 for ex­ist­ing propane cus­tomers. Cur­rently, roughly 44 per­cent of all Mary­land house­holds use nat­u­ral gas as the main heat­ing source. Of the re­main­ing Mary­land house­holds who don’t have ac­cess to nat­u­ral gas, nearly 70 per­cent would con­sider switch­ing to nat­u­ral gas as an en­ergy source, ac­cord­ing to a Jan­uary 2016 sur­vey con­ducted by Gon­za­les Re­search and Mar­ket­ing Strate­gies.

For now, busi­ness and res­i­den­tial con­sumers will have to wait. House Bill 1324 was in­tro­duced by Del. Charles Barkley (D-Mont­gomery) and cross­filed in the Se­nate, but it stalled in hear­ings in both cham­bers.

Wash­ing­ton Gas has not de­ter­mined its plans for the pro­posal for next ses­sion, said Bernie Tay­lor of the en­ergy com­pany’s me­dia re­la­tions of­fice, via an email state­ment.

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