Mass. Consumers Paying For Leaky Gas Pipelines, Report Says

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Massachusetts consumers paid up to $1.5 billion in extra charges over an 11-year period because of leaky natural gas pipelines, according to a report announced Thursday by U.S. Sen. Edward Markey.

Lawmakers on Beacon Hill in recent years have pushed legislation without success to force utilities to more quickly address problem pipes.

Markey’s report, which says the extra charges were paid from 2000 through 2011, said the leaky pipes are responsible for pollution and raise the risk of dangerous explosions.

According to the report, gas companies nationwide reported releasing 69 billion cubic feet of natural gas into the atmosphere in 2011, enough to meet Maine’s gas needs for a year and equal to the annual carbon dioxide emissions of six million automobiles.

The report said Boston Gas, Colonial Gas and NSTAR Gas accounted for 80 percent of leak-related costs in Massachusetts from 2000-2011.

Markey said he’s drafting a bill to address the problem and speed up cost recovery programs for companies. The state Legislature’s Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy held a public hearing on gas leak-related bills in June.

This program aired on August 1, 2013. The audio for this program is not available.