It’s time for Virginia to leave “natural” gas in the past

November 27, 2022


Gas Leaks, Virginia


✓ Gas is expensive 
✓ Gas stoves pollute the air even when they’re turned off 
✓ Gas leaks and explosions are a danger to Virginians
✓ Keep Virginia clean!

Clean energy is booming in Virginia, thanks to the Virginia Clean Economy Act that passed the state legislature in 2020. Solar energy is now the most affordable way to generate electricity, offshore wind is creating jobs and boosting the state’s economy, and more Virginia families are able to invest in solar panels and energy efficiency upgrades that lower energy bills.

That’s great news for Virginians, but it’s not sitting well with the state’s fossil fuel-dependent utilities, which are trying hard to keep the state dependent on the dirty products they sell. Utilities like Dominion

 Energy still prefer expensive gas-fueled power plants, for which they can pass on costs to Virginians for decades to come. 

For the state’s economic future and the health and safety of Virginians, it’s vital that we say “No” to the gas industry’s attempts to keep us dependent on volatile, risky methane gas.

Gas is expensive and customers are holding all the risk

The price of gas is through the roof — it tripled this year and shows no signs of coming back down to earth.  Across the country, some families are already dreading cold winter months, and the Department of Energy is projecting sharp price increases for home heating – due in large part to high gas costs. 


While families struggle, big oil and gas companies are reaping record-breaking profits in the billions of dollars. The big utilities are in the same boat, enjoying the same boosts, with analysts forecasting Dominion Energy will see revenues of $3.91 billion from the third quarter alone, up 23.13% from the prior-year quarter.

Unfortunately, as oil and gas companies’ earnings grow, so do Virginians’ monthly power bills. In Virginia, the average Dominion Energy residential customers’ bills are increasing by $14.93 because of high gas costs. And Appalachian Power is requesting a $20 per month increase. Gas is pushing our power bills higher and higher – and customers are the only ones paying the price. 

Utilities don’t have any skin in the game when it comes to fuel. They pass all those costs straight through to customers – they don’t pay a dime for fuel themselves. They get to enjoy all the upside with none of the risk. 

Meanwhile, the wind and sun are just as affordable and stable as they ever were – once a solar panel or wind turbine is built, the fuel costs are free forever. Virginians deserve the economic certainty of an energy system that runs on affordable electricity, not the rollercoaster of fossil fuels.


Gas stoves pollute the air in our homes even when they’re turned off

It’s not just the increasing costs — gas is a health risk to millions of Virginians that use gas appliances in their homes. The American Medical Association is the latest body of scientists sounding the alarm about the health impacts of gas stoves, which produce an array of toxins — from asthma-linked nitrogen dioxide to benzene, a known cause of cancer. More than 40 studies have found that children living in households that use gas stoves for cooking are 42% more likely to have asthma.

Shockingly, studies have shown that it doesn’t even matter if you’re using a gas stove — just having it in your kitchen can be a risk. A Stanford study tested gas stoves in 53 homes, and all 53 stoves leaked methane gas, even when in the off position. 

Experts say that switching to cleaner, safer appliances like induction stoves and all-electric heat pumps can improve the air quality in your home. And making this switch will be much more affordable for Virginia families in January, when homeowners can claim thousands of dollars of tax credits included in the Inflation Reduction Act passed by Congress this summer.

Leaks and explosions from gas are a danger to Virginians

A move away from gas would also reduce the risk of gas explosions, which are shockingly common. Between 2010 and 2020, a gas accident causing major damage, injury, or deaths occurred nearly once every two days in the United States. Virginia is no stranger to these kinds of avoidable catastrophes:

  • In 2020, a gas leak caused an explosion at a Harrisonburg shopping center, injuring at least five people
  • Multiple people suffered injuries and burns from a gas line explosion in Springfield in 2021. 
  • In 2022, a home in Bristol violently exploded from a gas leak. Fire investigators faulted a broken gas line that filled the home’s basement with gas.

Virginians shouldn’t have to live with the risks of having an explosive fossil fuel in the walls of their home, schools and businesses.

Expensive, unhealthy, dangerous gas has no place in Virginia’s clean energy future

Virginia utilities’ reliance on gas is hiking up our power bills, creating indoor air health hazards – especially in children – and causing leaks and explosions that injure people and damage property in Virginia every year. Yet profit-driven utilities like Dominion Energy would like us to be even more dependent on their dirty product.

We don’t have to live with these kinds of risks anymore. It’s time to accelerate the switch to safer, more affordable clean electricity and leave gas in the past, where it belongs.

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