"I did some research on it and within a couple weeks I made my decision. Oh yeah, you got a gas line coming through here? Oh, I'm switching," said Rick Poston of Shelburne.
Poston couldn't be happier with his decision. Since his switch from oil two years ago he's seen a 30-40 percent savings in his home heating costs. Today, he's hoping to save even more by converting his water heater and clothes dryer to gas.
"It's just plain economics," he said. "It's a no brainer."
Vermont Gas is hoping residents and businesses in Addison County feel the same.
"We'd like to be bringing gas into Addison County within the next five years," said Don Gilbert of Vermont Gas.
The Chittenden County-based utility wants to run a pipeline from Burlington to Middlebury using the state's right of way-- mostly along Route 7. Officials say the expansion would offer options to customers who currently depend on other fossil fuels.
"There are some important businesses down in that area that would benefit that we'd like to serve," Gilbert said.
"Energy is our second largest expense at that plant after labor," said Jim Tringe, an operations analyst at Agri-Mark Cabot.
Tringe says its Middlebury plant, which runs on propane and oil, supports the project. Tapping into a gas line would save the plant $3 million a year.
"All of our profits go right to our members-owners, so they would be the ones ultimately receiving the benefits of this," Tringe said.
Vermont Gas is also getting the go-ahead from Montpelier.
"Governor Shumlin has supported the concept and has encouraged us to expand natural gas as far as we can," Gilbert said.
The expansion is touted as an economic driver for the community. But not everyone is happy about it. The Vermont Fuel Dealers Association is keeping a watchful eye on the project.
"We want to make sure that the playing field is level and oftentimes that doesn't happen when you have a large utility that's moving into the neighborhood," said Matt Cota of the Vermont Fuel Dealers Association.
Cota lobbies for oil, propane, and coal companies. Right now most of those fuels cost at least one-third more than natural gas.
He worries about how the pipeline would be paid for. The project will cost $60 million-$70 million. Vermont Gas says it will pay for it, in part, with savings it has accrued at the wholesale gas level. But Vermont Fuel dealers say that's unfair and threatens to put the little guys out of business.
"With the natural gas utility threatening to use existing ratepayers' money to pay for a third of the pipeline it's in many ways a competitor that isn't playing on the same ballfield," Cota said.
Governor Shumlin was pushing for gas service as far south as Rutland. That project would cost 177-million. Vermont Gas says it's not a cost-effective option, but it is looking at the possible Addison expansion as a first step toward its long-term Rutland goal.
Sunday, December 8 2013 2:00 PM EST2013-12-08 19:00:23 GMT
A Connecticut man is charged with DUI after police say he admitted to overdosing on prescribed Ritalin when he was pulled over. The incident happened on Route 105 in Berkshire late Friday afternoon. AuthoritiesMore >>
A Connecticut man is charged with DUI after police say he admitted to overdosing on prescribed Ritalin when he was pulled over.More >>
Sunday, December 8 2013 1:42 PM EST2013-12-08 18:42:20 GMT
Police in New Hampshire are investigating an accident on Interstate 89 that claimed two lives. It happened on the northbound lane between Exit#18 and Exit#19 in Lebanon. The initial investigation revealedMore >>
It happened on the northbound lane between Exit#18 and Exit#19 in Lebanon, N.H. Saturday.More >>
Sunday, December 8 2013 1:30 PM EST2013-12-08 18:30:52 GMT
Police say a couple tried to use a baby to smuggle drugs into jail. Police say the baby arrived the Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility, with 27-year-old David Willette of Bennington, for a scheduledMore >>
Police say a couple tried to use a baby to smuggle drugs into jail.More >>
Sunday, December 8 2013 1:25 PM EST2013-12-08 18:25:45 GMT
A 28-year-old Coventry man is dead after a crash Saturday night in Irasburg. Police say at about 8:40 p.m. Gerald Begin rolled his car on Route 5 and was thrown out of the vehicle. He was taken toMore >>
A 28-year-old Coventry man is dead after a crash Saturday night in Irasburg.More >>
Sunday, December 8 2013 1:21 PM EST2013-12-08 18:21:13 GMT
Talks next week in New York will try to determine how new state land in the central Adirondacks can be used. The Adirondack Park Agency is considering recommendations for the land in the towns of IndianMore >>
Talks next week in New York will try to determine how new state land in the central Adirondacks can be used.More >>
Sunday, December 8 2013 1:18 PM EST2013-12-08 18:18:31 GMT
Competition could be fierce for new casino licenses in upstate New York. The licenses will be awarded next year after voters passed an amendment allowing Vegas-style casinos outside Indian land. FourMore >>
Competition could be fierce for new casino licenses in upstate New York.More >>
Sunday, December 8 2013 1:13 PM EST2013-12-08 18:13:03 GMT
If you're lucky, you may have seen a snowy owl in Vermont. Researchers say the birds are traveling even farther south than usual -- some even as far south as North Carolina. We spotted one Friday afternoonMore >>
Researchers say snowy owls are traveling even farther south than usual, and that means more sightings here in Vermont.More >>
Sunday, December 8 2013 1:12 PM EST2013-12-08 18:12:07 GMT
The sun is completing a "solar flip," and that means many people could have the best chance in a decade of seeing the aurora borealis, or Northern Lights. NASA says every 11 years the sun's polar magneticMore >>
We check in on some of the week's big science stories, including why the Northern Lights may be more visible soon.More >>