This story by Christian M. Wade, Statehouse Reporter, was printed in the 12/26/15 edition of the Salem News. Representative Lori Ehrlich filed a bill to prevent utilities from passing the bulk of costs of gas leaks on to ratepayers. A Harvard University study revealed that the cost of these leaks is $90,000,000 a year. Also, the effect of natural gas escaping into the atmosphere contributes to climate change, since methane is a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.
BOSTON — Utilities are under growing pressure from lawmakers and environmental groups to plug tens of thousands of leaks in aging underground gas pipelines, some of which are decades old.
An interactive map of leaks [NOTE: as reported by the various local utilities on 2/26/2015] throughout the state posted by a Cambridge nonprofit group, the Home Energy Efficiency Team, pinpoints tends of thousands of leaks, some of them major. The map uses data provided by National Grid, Eversource, Columbia Gas and other providers.
A law passed last year requires the utilities to track and grade all gas leaks on a scale of 1 to 3, with 1 being most serious, and immediately repair the most hazardous. The law also requires utilities to share the information with the public.