The nicest thing I can say about natural gas is, it’s not propane, which the residents of my rural neighborhood (Suffield Meadows) are forced to use to heat their homes. Natural gas lines do not come into this 112-residence community, just four miles out of town.  

Any increase in the availability of natural gas to Virginia residents in areas where propane is now used to heat homes can only be a positive, not a negative.  

As a recent transplant to Virginia from Arizona and used to low energy costs and where natural gas was abundantly available, I was appalled by the $400 to $500 a month I was spending in the winter to heat my Warrenton home with propane.  

After my first Virginia winter of paying for propane, I sought another energy alternative. I installed a pellet stove in the space that was formerly occupied by my propane burning fireplace, turned off my propane furnace, and now use the pellet stove to heat my house. I spend half of what I did with LPG gas. However, if natural gas were suddenly available in my neighborhood, I would use fewer pellets. 

I too am concerned about global warming and prefer to use a renewable source for my energy needs. The fact of the matter is that such renewable energy sources are not readily available at a reasonable cost (aside from my pellets) here in Warrenton. 

In your editorial, you mentioned the environmental hazards, explosions and leaks associated with the transport of natural gas hundreds of miles in pipelines. As with natural gas, stored propane tanks also leak and explode causing death and injury. Common sense tells me individual propane storage tanks (and there are thousands in rural Virginia backyards), all in various degrees of deterioration and maintenance, present a far greater safety hazard than Dominion Energy and its partners, who have uniform policies on the burying and maintenance of natural gas pipelines. 

Should we expand the use of renewable energy sources and diminish the use of fossil fuels? Indeed we should, but what do we do in the meantime to stay warm and not go broke heating our homes? Clearly, the answer is to use the cheapest and most available energy source available now. If that means increasing the use of fossil fuels until more renewable energy sources become available and affordable, then —so be it. 

Don Benchoff 


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$400-500 a month? It only costs us $250 to $300 with a heat pump!

We also use a pellet stove to help when it's below freezing. Those propane prizes are outrageous (or your house must be huge)

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