Natural Gas Benefits for Massachusetts’ Economy and Environment Highlighted in New Report

Massachusetts’ natural gas distribution companies have added 200,000 residential customers since 2000, employ more than 4,000 workers directly and pay over $100 million annually in city and town property taxes, and have cut their greenhouse gas emissions by two-thirds since 1990.

These are some of the key findings from a new Northeast Gas Association “2017 State of the Industry Report: The Economic Benefits of Natural Gas in Massachusetts,’’ which is being released today and available at

The 32-page report is intended as a synopsis of the natural gas economy in Massachusetts and is based on macroeconomic data derived from various consumer, infrastructure, environmental, and industry reports. The report, part of the Association’s Massachusetts Energy Reliability Awareness Campaign launched earlier this year, summarizes publicly available information to highlight the role of natural gas within Massachusetts’ economy.

Northeast Gas Association president & CEO Thomas Kiley said, “This report documents and reaffirms an important reality: Natural gas is good for Massachusetts. Every day natural gas delivers enormous benefits to our state’s economy and environment.’’

Some of the report’s other findings:

  • The percentage of homeowners choosing natural gas for heat has soared in Massachusetts from 38 percent in 1990 to 51 percent now, reflecting its competitiveness with heating oil on price, performance, cleanliness and convenience
  • 65.4 percent of all electricity generated in Massachusetts in 2015 came from power plants fueled by natural gas, a number that will only rise with the June shutdown of the Brayton Point plant in Somerset and the June 2019 shutdown of Pilgrim Station in Plymouth
  • Natural gas utilities and distribution companies employ members of 23 union locals affiliated with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, United Steelworkers, and Utility Workers Union of America, and, beyond their dedicated union employees, support hundreds of additional jobs at vendors and contractors
  • Natural gas distribution companies support dozens of charities and local nonprofit organizations across Massachusetts with financial donations and volunteer time
  • Natural gas systems now account for just 1.1 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions in Massachusetts, down from 2.6 percent in 1990, due to the utilities’ actions to replace older pipe and make other efficiency gains
  • Massachusetts accounts for 1.6 percent of the natural gas consumed in the United States–but 13.3 percent of all natural gas efficiency program spending, reflecting the robust, successful Mass Save program offerings, which are sponsored by the gas and electric utilities.

Kiley added, “This report further bolsters what businesses, employers, and consumers all across the Commonwealth know: Continued, reliable access to adequate gas supplies, as part of an all-of-the-above energy strategy, is critical to ensure that Massachusetts has an affordable, reliable, and ever-cleaner energy supply. Natural gas has an important role to play for many years to come within a balanced, diversified energy portfolio.’’

Copies of the report are available at

About Northeast Gas Association

The Northeast Gas Association is a regional trade association that promotes education and training, technology research and development, operations, planning, and increased public awareness of safe, reliable, efficient, and environmentally responsible delivery of natural gas.