Natural Gas Utilities Invest $3.8 Million Per Day Helping Customers Save Money and Reduce Their Carbon Footprint
Washington, D.C. – America’s natural gas utilities are helping customers save money and reduce their carbon footprint. A new report by the American Gas Association (AGA) shows that natural gas utilities invested $3,800,000 per day in energy efficiency programs in 2018, offsetting 2.25 million metric tons of avoided CO2 emissions.
“The programs and investments made every year by America’s natural gas utilities provide another example of how local natural gas companies work with their customers to help them save money and protect the environment,” said AGA President and CEO Karen Harbert. “AGA members also make significant investments in reducing the energy burdens for our most vulnerable customers through weatherization assistance.”
In 2018, natural gas utilities funded 132 natural gas efficiency programs in the U.S. and Canada for a total of $1.47 billion—an eight percent jump from 2016 and a 20 percent rise since 2012. These programs help customers install tighter-fitting windows and doors, better insulation and purchase increasingly more efficient natural gas appliances. Natural gas utilities spent one-quarter of their budget ($365.34 million) on low-income efficiency programs, assisting over 214,581 participants in 2018. Additionally, more than 66,000 commercial customers, and upwards of 72,000 industrial program customers were enrolled in natural gas efficiency programs in 2018.
With these significant investments, natural gas utilities helped their customers save 259 trillion Btus of energy and offset over 13.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions from 2012 to 2018 – the equivalent to removing 2.9 million cars off the road for a year. U.S. customers saved 425 million Therms or 42.5 trillion Btu through natural gas efficiency programs, offsetting 2.25 million metric tons of avoided CO2 emissions in 2018 alone.
“Natural gas utilities are working with their customers to be part of the solution to climate change, helping them lower their emissions while also saving money,” Harbert said. “Our industry encourages and supports energy efficiency in pursuit of a significantly lower-carbon energy economy.”
These investments in natural gas efficiency are yielding big results. The total number of residential natural gas customers in the U.S. has grown by 86 percent in the past 40 years, but overall residential natural gas demand has remained steady. Residential customers today use half of the volume of natural gas that they used in 1970 despite consistent growth in the average size of homes. In that time, CO2 emissions from the average natural gas home have declined 1.2 percent per year.
Energy efficiency is a key component of AGA’s Climate Change Position Statement released earlier this year. The use of natural gas, in combination with renewable energy and efficiency, has contributed to US energy-related carbon dioxide emissions declining to the lowest levels in nearly 25 years.
The report covers ratepayer-funded programs from members of the American Gas Association and Consortium for Energy Efficiency and can be found here.
The American Gas Association, founded in 1918, represents more than 200 local energy companies that deliver clean natural gas throughout the United States. There are more than 75 million residential, commercial and industrial natural gas customers in the U.S., of which 95 percent — more than 71 million customers — receive their gas from AGA members. Today, natural gas meets more than three-tenths of the United States' energy needs.