"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.
Friday, May 24 2013 9:51 AM EDT2013-05-24 13:51:55 GMT
Over the river and throught the woods isn't just the way to grandma's house, its the way a lot of people are having to travel just to make it to their front door. Dormant brooks and sleepy streams turnedMore >>
Strong rains Thursday flooded roads in Essex.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 11:05 AM EDT2013-05-24 15:05:28 GMT
Vermont State Police say the following roads have been closed due to flooding:UNDERHILL: VERMONT ROUTE 15, CILLEYHILL POKER HILL ROAD NORTH UNDERHILL STATION ROAD PAIGE ROAD DAUDLIN ROAD BROWNS TRACE,More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 9:55 AM EDT2013-05-24 13:55:28 GMT
Four people behind bars this morning, charged with kidnapping and burglary. Brattleboro police say just before 1 p.m. Thursday, a group of people forced two women into a car at gunpoint. Police caughtMore >>
Four people behind bars, charged with kidnapping and burglary.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 9:58 AM EDT2013-05-24 13:58:10 GMT
A Massachusetts man is dead after an ATV crash in Concord. Police say just before 10 p.m. Thursday night, 42-year-old Frank Baker Junior was driving an ATV off of Leonard Hill Road when he lost controlMore >>
A Massachusetts man is dead after an ATV crash in Concord, Vt. More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 9:47 AM EDT2013-05-24 13:47:11 GMT
Many Vermont roads turned to rivers Thursday night. Flash flooding made it difficult to get around. Route 15 in Underhill became a dead end -- between Poker Hill Road and Cilley Hill Road. Gushing waterMore >>
Many Vermont roads turned to rivers Thursday night. Flash flooding made it difficult to get around.More >>
Thursday, May 23 2013 7:44 PM EDT2013-05-23 23:44:21 GMT
New developments in a WCAX News investigation into a land deal between Gov. Peter Shumlin and an East Montpelier man. Jeremy Dodge's kids say the governor took advantage of their dad and they now planMore >>
New developments in a WCAX News investigation into a land deal between Gov. Shumlin and an East Montpelier man. Jeremy Dodge's kids say the governor took advantage of their dad and they plan to fight the governor for the property.More >>