From households to small businesses, savings seen in natural gas

There has been a great deal of conversation concerning the Marcellus Shale and how development less than an hour north of the Scranton / Wilkes-Barre region is changing the impact of energy on a global scale. Even more impressive is the impact this same development is having on our local economy. Affordable energy leaves more disposable income for families and area businesses. And that means putting more money back in people’s pockets.IHS Inc., the leading global source of information and analytics, released a study in late 2013 reporting a direct correlation between shale oil and gas production and an average increase of $1,200 in disposable income per U.S. household in 2012. The study went on to project average savings of $2,000 per household in 2015 and $3,500 in 2025. These savings are not just seen in lower monthly energy bills but also in savings at the gas pump, in the grocery store and in variety of goods and services.On our local level, a look to UGI Utilities helps put the power of the Marcellus gas into focus. The company has 142,000 customers who have seen a total of $405 million in savings since 2008. This is due in large part to the company’s efforts to bring locally-produced Marcellus Shale natural gas into the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre region through investments in the expansion of their infrastructure. And they plan to continue to increase their capacity with a $40 million per year investment in new infrastructure in the coming years.With this abundant gas readily available so close to home, UGI Utilities has seen their customers’ average monthly bill drop from $153 to $91 due directly to the reduction in the cost of natural gas. Annually, these customers are saving approximately $744… just on their natural gas bill. In addition to stable gas prices for existing customers, UGI Utilities reports converting 45,000 new customers from fuel oil to natural gas resulting in saving an average of $1,500 per year. Every month, this is extra money our neighbors have to spend on other things and reinvest into the local economy.Northeastern PA businesses and manufacturers are also benefiting from having an abundant supply of natural gas nearby. Kane is Able has added tractor trailers fueled by compressed natural gas (CNG) which is much more affordable and cleaner burning than diesel. Other regional companies such as Proctor & Gamble, Pennsy Supply, and Shea Industries have made the switch to natural gas in their facilities taking advantage of the clear cost savings over other types of available fuel. And with the savings, companies are able to reinvest in their businesses by upgrading or purchasing new equipment and hiring additional employees.Bottom line, each segment of our economy,  from households to small business to large manufacturers is saving significant dollars due to the abundant, clean burning natural gas produced right here in NEPA.
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George Stark

George grew up in Western PA, graduated from Dickinson College and has been involved in Public Policy matters since then. He has worked in Harrisburg and Pittsburgh on energy issues with a focus on Local, State and Federal matters. As the Director, External Affairs at Cabot Oil & Gas Corp, George directs the media, community and legislative relations for the company.

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