Study Shows Huge Losses from Gas Leaks in CT
HARTFORD, Conn. – Connecticut ratepayers are footing the bill for natural-gas leaks statewide, according to a new report. Using sensitive equipment, a study commissioned by the Sierra Club found that about 43,000 cubic feet of gas per day is leaking into the air in Hartford alone.
According to Martha Klein, chair of the Sierra Club's Connecticut chapter, they found more leaks than the number being reported to the Public Utility Regulatory Authority.
"There are approximately five times the amount of leaks of natural gas leaking from the pipeline system in the city as the regulators were aware of," she said.
Utility companies estimate how much gas is lost through leaks every year and, under the provisions of a 2014 state law, add that cost onto consumers' bills.
But Klein says that gives the utilities little incentive to repair leaks. And while the survey was only conducted in Hartford, she points out that the results should reflect the general condition of gas pipelines in other cities and towns.
"You can extrapolate the pipeline system to other parts of the state because in Connecticut the pipelines were put in at approximately the same time and are approximately the same age," she added.
Natural gas is 97 percent methane, which is about 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas for the first 20 years after it escapes into the air.
Klein says the new study shows policy makers that not only is the economic loss from gas leaks greater than they knew, the threat they pose to the environment is many times greater as well.
"That fact should have a chilling effect on the state energy plan to expand the use of natural gas massively, which is the current state energy strategy."
On Wednesday, the Sierra Club will be in the Legislative Office Building in Hartford, urging lawmakers to strengthen the state's commitment to renewable energy.