The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Strong Public Support for New England Infrastructure

Sabrina Fang

Sabrina Fang
Posted June 1, 2016

A New England Coalition for Affordable Energy Survey released last week shows that nearly 80 percent of residents are concerned about the affordability of energy in New England. And it is no wonder, with all six states in the Top-10 for electricity costs:


Chart: Average retail price of Electricity to residential sector, february 2016

And in the Top-13 for natural gas prices:


Chart: Natural Gas residential prices, February 2016

And the people are ready for action, as the Coalition explains:

“Respondents also voiced support for the construction of new energy infrastructure. New electricity infrastructure, including electricity generating facilities and transmission lines, was favored by 73 percent of those responding, while natural gas infrastructure, including natural gas pipelines and storage facilities, to fuel electricity generating plants and homes and businesses in New England was favored by 64 percent.”

A study from last August found that:

“Underinvestment in infrastructure due to external constraints ensures persistent and increasing energy prices and costs for the region. Such costs make it difficult for businesses to maintain competitiveness, which undermines the region’s ability to retain and attract jobs. In addition, higher costs reduce disposable income for families, affecting their quality of life.”

Many key points there, but one we want to focus on is “external constraints.” The benefits of infrastructure are well known, and we have workers who are ready to get to work, but more and more we see decision makers putting politics ahead of the public interest. And that isn’t good for workers or rate-payers, as Sean McGarvey, president of North America’s Building Trades Unions recently put it:

“There’s a consistent (pattern) to just deny any new infrastructure. It greatly aggravates the building trades – (a) because it’s our jobs and (b) not only is it our jobs, we’re rate payers. We’re paying those exorbitant rates for our energy costs, to our families, when we know it could done cheaper if sent over safe, reliable infrastructure put in place to bring down energy costs for everybody.”

And the costs in the coming years for New England could be going the opposite of down, more from the study:

  • Lack of new energy infrastructure will cost the region $5.4 billion in higher energy costs
  • Higher energy costs will lead to the loss of 52,000 private-sector jobs
  • Lack of energy infrastructure will reduce household spending by $12.5 billion
  • $9 billion in foregone construction activity results in a loss of 115,600 jobs

To create jobs, continue progress in reducing emissions and ensure America’s homes and manufacturers have access to affordable energy, energy infrastructure should be a top priority. Private businesses are ready to invest and workers are ready to build, now politicians need to get out of the way.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sabrina Fang is an API media relations representative. Before joining API she worked for the Washington Humane Society and was a reporter for Tribune Broadcasting and covered the White House for seven years. Fang studied broadcast journalism at Syracuse University before starting her career. She enjoys reading, watching movies and spending time with family.