West / Regional Reports

Oregon Utility Promotes Natural Gas Benefits

PORTLAND, OR — With energy cost and efficiency being a major concern lately, especially on the West Coast, Northwest (NW) Natural Gas is touting the value of natural gas as a means of energy.

The utility company provides natural gas to over 500,000 customers throughout Oregon and in Vancouver, WA, and says that currently 90% of new homes in the Northwest are equipped with natural gas. According to Northwest Natural, new homebuyers are looking for a system in their home that will have an economic advantage.

With this in mind, NW Natural believes that the uses for natural gas can be expanded, including space and water heating. This would reduce the reliance on electricity. NW Natural’s general manager of market development, Grant Yoshihara, says that the Pacific Northwest is one of the last places in the country where electricity is still used for space and water heating, primarily due to inexpensive hydropower. But Yoshihara says that the days of creating additional hydropower for growing demand is gone and he is advocating the advantages of natural gas.

Yoshihara also points out a few markets where natural gas can replace electricity for space and water heaters. These applications include homes built for low-income families, multifamily housing, and existing homes with natural gas furnaces and electric water heaters. Also, NW Natural says that is it willing to work with state regulators in an effort to encourage natural gas in these areas.

For more information on NW Natural, visit www.gasco.com (website).

Publication date: 07/23/2001

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