letters | grappling with gas leaks

Lag on repairs is an outrage

I am outraged by almost every line in Erin Ailworth’s “$1.5b lost to gas line leaks” (Page A1, Aug. 1). How is it possible that gas companies passed off to ratepayers $20 billion in lost gas costs over the last decade due to leaks in old pipes?

Thomas Kiley, chief executive of the Northeast Gas Association, blames regulation. Kiley complains that some utilities have waited up to a year and a half to recover the cost of repairs from ratepayers through the regulatory process, and says that that’s “a long time to be waiting to get your cash back for your business.” That sounds like a great return on investment to me, but I’m not a gas company.

I say bring on the regulation — the kind that holds utilities accountable. Get to work on fixing all those pipes now. According to the study cited in the article, we’ll all save $156 million over the next 10 years, and that’s after the cost of repairs. This is not to mention breathing easier with purer air and fewer worries of being in a gas explosion while drinking your morning coffee. It would also be a great stimulus, putting many to work on repairing our infrastructure and reducing carbon in the atmosphere.

Julia Greene