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Moratorium Frequently Asked Questions

Info for: ResidentialCommercialEducationCommunityContractorsEconomic Development

Can I activate an inactive natural gas service line?

Actively consuming equipment connected to the service in the last 12 months may be reactivated. If the service line or a gas meter was shut off prior, it cannot be reactivated. If the gas service is eligible for reactivation, the connected gas equipment cannot exceed the load that was previously used at the location. If you have questions about your eligibility for service, connected loads or gas usage, please contact Gas Engineering at 413-536-9350.

 

I recently bought a property that has a gas service. When I called to setup my account I was told it couldn’t be reactivated. Why?

As long as the previous property owner had an active has service in the last 12 months, you will be able to activate the service. Gas service accounts are not guaranteed based on the availability of a gas line on or near the property. Before buying a property, you should contact Gas Engineering at 413-536-9350 to find out if the service line can be transferred or whether your request is within the reactivation period.

 

Why can’t I add more load, I already have an HG&E gas meter?

The presence of a meter has no bearing on the availability of natural gas at your location. Natural gas availability for your location has been allocated based on your historical usage. Due to the moratorium, no additional volumes of natural gas are available for expanding usage beyond what you are currently using. Adding load without authorization may jeopardize your gas service as well as the system’s reliability. Due to the moratorium, local plumbing and gas inspectors are not approving natural gas permits without the approval of an authorized HG&E representative first.

 

If I already use gas for heating, why can’t I add a gas stove or dryer?

The pipeline serving Hampden and Hampshire Counties is operating at capacity. As such, we cannot add any additional demand or usage to the local distribution system. The natural gas needed for your current heating purposes has been allocated and is available for your continued use, regardless of the moratorium.

Are there any exceptions to the moratorium?

A moratorium has been invoked across the board within HG&E’s system.  This means that no additional volumes of natural gas (new or incremental) are available at any residential location, for any purpose regardless of the need or merits. Residential customers do not have the ability to utilize dual fuel solutions, which would be required during peak periods.

Business and industrial customers may apply for service under the Department’s interruptible rate.  Under this rate, customers must switch to an alternate fuel source upon notice from HG&E, typically under peak system conditions.  To apply for interruptible service, or determine if the equipment qualifies, please contact Gas Engineering at 413-536-9350.

 

I have an active natural gas service, is it in jeopardy?

HG&E's service is assured for existing, active natural gas customers. In fact, the moratorium was declared in order to ensure the continuing reliability of service to our existing customers. Current customers can make improvements to their existing gas service (i.e. replace a gas furnace, gas stove, or gas hot water heater), so long as the load profile for their home does not increase.

Can I install a natural gas fueled generator during the moratorium?

No, generators cannot be installed during the moratorium.

If I install a natural gas fueled generator, it will not be active continuously. Why wouldn’t this be approved?

Due to severely constrained deliverability in HG&E’s territory, we are unable to commit to delivering any volumes of natural gas beyond those currently used by our existing customers. While backup generators may, in fact, operate during a period of reduced demand, there are any number of circumstances during which they could come online during a period of normal, or even peak demand.

Can I replace my old gas furnace with a new furnace?

Yes, as long as the load (input BTU’s) is the same as, or less than, the current load. Please contact Customer Service at (413) 536-9300 to discuss your plans, as they may be able to assist you with this and potentially provide some financial incentive for updating your equipment.  Due to the moratorium, local plumbing and gas inspectors are not approving natural gas permits without the approval of an authorized HG&E representative first.

Why does a system evaluation need to be done before equipment alterations are made on my existing gas service?

System evaluations are performed to assess the ability to provide the necessary pressure and volumes at a specific location for a specific load demand. Under the moratorium, no equipment can be added due to pipeline constraints.  Equipment may be replaced with “like” equipment only and may require prior approval.

My property is not eligible for gas service, what other options are available?

If you are considering a new heating system for your home, heat pumps offer a single, energy efficient solution. There are rebates and incentives available to HG&E customers.

What could happen if I had new gas burning equipment installed without approval?

If new natural gas burning equipment is installed during the moratorium, your natural gas service could be subject to outage or interruption if our distribution system pressures prove to be insufficient to meet the added demand. Unauthorized load increases are found through the automated meter reading system. Installing new equipment without a permit will result in a red tag of the equipment and a notification to the local inspection department. Plumbers or gas fitters performing work without a permit are subject to fines, penalties and sanctions by the Massachusetts Plumbing and Gas Board.

Can I replace an old tank type water heater with a new on-demand water heater?

No, despite the overall reduction in natural gas used by on demand water heaters, the demand surge of an on-demand water heater at start up is 400% greater than that of a tank type water heater. Such a surge could negatively impact pressures on our distribution system and cause an outage or service interruption.

If I have my stove disconnected, can I install a new furnace?

No, the volumes of natural gas used for home heating are typically significantly greater than those for cooking. We will only consider swapping an appliance for another “like” appliance.

I want to install a gas fireplace and will only use it on occasion. Will that be approved?

No, by necessity a moratorium on new or added natural gas use is an “across the board” moratorium.

Can I install propane for heating if I already use natural gas for cooking?

Yes, this is possible with the required approvals. Your plumber will need to file for a gas permit. Along with that permit, you will need a letter of permission from HG&E AND your local propane supplier. Please contact Gas Engineering at 413-536-9350 for a dual fuel permission letter from HG&E.

If a tenant moves out and shuts off their gas meter, can it be turned back on for a new tenant?

This can only occur if the location has been in service at some point in the last 12 months.

If I spoke with someone at HG&E in the past, how come I now cannot get my gas, or any additional gas if I already have a service?

The availability of natural gas is based on your having an active meter/service in the last 12 months.  

When will gas service be available?

HG&E is evaluating potential solutions, but there is no timeline in place, currently.

If you are interested in natural gas service in the future, please visit www.hged.com/start and complete the Natural Gas Service Interest Form. HG&E will review new service interest and requests as soon as the capacity issue is adequately addressed.

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