Getting Connected with Natural Gas
You're losing money. If you heat your home with propane, electric, or other fuel sources, chances are you're spending too many dollars on energy costs. The good news? Getting connected with natural gas in your neighborhood has never been easier. Here's how.
In its pure form, natural gas is odorless. We add a harmless odorizing agent that produces a distinctive, pungent smell that reminds some of sulfur or rotten eggs. This makes it possible for you to detect even a small leak.
Use caution! A natural gas leak can cause an explosion if ignited by a spark. If you smell gas in your home, leave your house immediately and call our emergency service number (1-888-784-6160) from another location such as a neighbor's house.
For your own safety, remember these rules in the event you smell gas.
- Do not use your electric garage door opener to leave your house. Any motorized appliance could spark, igniting the natural gas.
- Do not use your phone to call us unless you are outside and away from your house. Using any type of telephone could ignite the leaking gas.
- Do not turn any light switches or other electrical devices on or off. Anything electrical, even something as small as a thermostat, may cause a spark and ignite leaking gas.
- Do not try to relight the pilot light. Leave gas furnaces, water heaters, and other gas appliances alone until you are certain that it is safe.
- Do not smoke cigarettes or light candles. Using a lighter or a match could ignite the leaking gas.
Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a toxic gas produced by the incomplete burning of different fuels including gasoline, kerosene, wood, coal, propane, natural gas, and fuel oil. High concentrations of CO can cause illness and excessive levels can be fatal.
If you suspect that someone may be experiencing CO poisoning in your home, call 911 or your local fire department immediately.
Breathing CO may include the following flu-like symptoms.
- Burning eyes
- Irregular breathing
A few simple tips can prevent CO in your home and help keep you and your family safe.
- Make sure all appliances are properly installed and maintained.
- Have a heating professional clean and check your heating and venting every year.
- Between inspections, look for signs of water collecting near burners or vents. Also check vents, flue pipes, and chimneys for corrosion or blockage.
- Never run a vehicle or fuel-burning equipment in an enclosed place.
- CO detectors are strongly recommended as an extra measure of safety and can be purchased at most discount and hardware stores.
Even jobs that seem simple, such as planting a tree or installing a fence or a deck, can become dangerous and costly if an underground utility line is damaged. Simply call one of these state agencies at least two full working days in advance (three days in Pennsylvania) to have utility lines marked at no cost. It's a simple call that can avoid serious accidents.
Indiana Underground Plant Protection Service (IUPPS)
Ohio Utilities Protection Service (OUPS)
PA 1 Call
Take these steps in the event of a ruptured gas line near your home or business:
Leave the area of the gas leak immediately.
Call 911 and the emergency service center at 1-888-784-6160 from somewhere other than the location of the gas leak.
The customer is responsible for the maintenance of all gas piping (“customer service line”) from the edge of the property line to the gas meter and into your home to all gas appliances. Buried gas piping (customer service line) that is not properly maintained is subject to potential hazards of corrosion and leakage. For your safety, all buried gas piping should be periodically inspected for leaks. If the buried piping is metallic, it should also be periodically inspected for corrosion. If an unsafe condition is found, the gas piping will need to be promptly repaired. When digging near buried gas piping, the piping must be located in advance and digging should be done by hand. Plumbing and heating contractors can assist in locating, inspecting and repairing customer's buried pipelines.
Your natural gas appliances are made with the highest quality and safety standards. They can add warmth, security, and comfort to your home or business. To insure your natural gas home is always a safe home, we urge customers to become educated consumers. This process begins when you prepare to purchase your new natural gas product and continues when you use energy saving tips. Once you have made the clean choice of natural gas appliances, learn how to increase their longevity and performance through appliance safety.
To ensure the safety and efficiency of your new natural gas appliances, follow these rules of thumb.
- When purchasing a new appliance, look for those that are designed to meet safety standards. Check the label for certification. This is your assurance that the equipment is designed to meet national safety standards.
- Have qualified professionals install appliances to make sure they’re properly connected. Never attempt this yourself.
- Follow the manufacturer's instructions for operation and care of your equipment.
- Call a professional if there is any irregularity with your appliance, like overheating or the presence of soot around a burner.
- Be certain the flame on your gas appliance is bright blue. If it’s consistently yellow, call a professional to check and adjust the burner.
- Make sure a plumber or contractor determines that the equipment is properly vented and adjusted, and that it has an adequate supply of fresh air for safe, efficient combustion.
Pay attention to your natural gas appliances. Natural gas problems like leaks or a presence of carbon monoxide can be avoided if you make sure your appliances are serviced regularly. Here are a few safety tips to help you use the natural gas appliances in your home safely.
- Follow manufacturer directions for the care and use of natural gas appliances and heating systems. Always have a licensed heating contractor, plumber, or appliance repair representative inspect and repair your natural gas equipment.
- Check furnace filters regularly and clean or replace them according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
- Keep the furnace unit intact. Don’t remove panels without replacing them.
- Keep combustible materials such as papers, fluids, paints, curtains, and rags away from furnaces, water heaters, gas ranges, and dryers.
- Keep your gas range clean. Make sure burner bowls are free of used matches, grease, paper, etc.
- Have a fire extinguisher near your appliances. Install smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors in your home.
- Keep the pilot lights of your gas range lit. If you put them out to save energy, a dangerous gas build-up can occur if someone accidentally turns on the range.
- Use equipment for the job it was designed to do. Never use your gas range or oven to heat your home.
- Make sure natural gas appliances have proper ventilation according to manufacturer’s instructions.
- Keep chimneys and flues clear. Have your flue pipe and chimney checked to make sure they’re not blocked with debris such as nests, branches, or ivy.
Some appliances use a safety device that prevents the main burner from coming on if the pilot light is off. If you find a pilot light out, you need to relight it right away. Follow the instructions in your appliance manual if available. If not, turn off the burner and wait five minutes. This will allow any accumulated gas to escape.
Always light the match first and then hold it to the pilot burner. Be sure the pilot is lighted before turning on the main burner. Refer to your appliance manual for additional information on the safe use of pilot-type and pilotless-ignition gas appliances
In accordance with recent federal regulations, you may request that your gas provider install an Excess Flow Valve (EFV) on your existing gas service line that is an additional cost to the homeowner. An EFV is a mechanical safety device installed on a gas service line near the gas main. Although an EFV is not required for the normal, safe operation of your gas service line, an EFV could help mitigate the consequences of a service line break by restricting or stopping the gas flow.
Many customers already have an EFV installed on their existing service line; those who do not may be eligible to have one installed.
An EFV is designed to shut off the flow of natural gas if a service line is inadvertently dug into by a homeowner or contractor during excavation. Restricting the gas flow after a gas service line is damaged may decrease the potential for property damage and/or injury.
The installation of an EFV will not protect against leaks on customer appliances or house piping. An EFV does not protect against leaks on the gas meter or slow leaks on the service line.
If you are interested in having a EFV installed or require further information, please call our customer service department at 1-888-863-0032.
We do not always use a boring machine, sometimes the service is dug in with an excavator and there will be excavation where the service line ties into the main line even if we use a boring machine for the main line. I do not have a cookie cutter change but we are open to your people rewording to give the customer a more realistic expectation of installation. (there will be mud) but we do our best to get those grounds as close as we can to their original state upon completion.
Yes. The distribution lines installed by the co-op meet the construction specifications of regulated gas utilities. In addition, the co-op's line installation is subject to audit by the state's public utility commission. Systems are monitored by professional maintenance crews to identify and correct any problems in a timely manner. The safety of the residents in your community is the co-op's primary consideration.
All states govern the tariffs (the "rate base") that natural gas utilities are allowed to charge their customers. Most state gas utility tariffs lack any incentive for gas utilities to extend their distribution lines into unserved residential areas.
Natural gas cooperatives are exempt from regulation by the state's public utility commission (PUC). Since the co-op's rates are not subject to PUC jurisdiction and rate base policies, the co-op has the flexibility to install distribution lines that exceed the line extension policies of most gas utilities. Because of the increased flexibility in establishing fees and rates, the co-op can bring cost effective natural gas service to communities that might otherwise not be able to obtain service from a regulated gas utility.
- A group of homeowners that own the natural gas system and make their own decisions on gas service
- All costs passed on at actual cost
- Fully regulated by the PUCO for pipeline safety and compliance
- Governed by an elected board of directors
- Capable of making advanced gas purchasing decisions
- In all other respects, very similar to other large utilities: monthly meter reading, monthly billing, budget billing, direct payment from checking account, credit card payments, etc.
- UPL is a pipeline engineering, construction, maintenance, and service company.
- The cooperatives have contracted with UPL to build and operate their gas pipeline systems.
- The cooperatives own the gas pipeline system after it is finished and put into service.
- Each cooperative is owned and governed by its members.
Cost-effective. U.S. Department of Energy statistics demonstrates that natural gas is the least expensive source of residential energy. Recent statistics show heating a home with electricity costs almost 300% more than heating with natural gas; fuel oil costs about 50% more; and propane costs about 70% more.
Consistent comfort. From a comfort point of view, gas heat is presumed to be "warmer" than heat generated by an electric heat pump. Electric heat pumps provide air from the registers at a temperature that is near or below body temperature — making homes heated in this fashion less comfortable. In contrast, natural gas heating systems provide air from the registers at a temperature 20 to 30 degrees above normal body temperature — making homes heated with natural gas forced air feel warmer and more comfortable than homes heated with electricity. Next to the heating and cooling system, the water heater is the largest energy user in your home. Natural gas water heaters deliver hot water faster and at a more consistent temperature than electric units. Plus, natural gas water heaters cost 50% less to operate than electric units; ensuring homeowners monthly energy costs should be lower compared to alternatives.
Environmentally friendly. Natural gas is the cleanest, most environmentally friendly fossil fuel available — including coal or oil generated electricity. Homes using natural gas as an energy source are responsible for 99% less sulfur dioxide, 90% less nitrogen oxides, 95% less particulate matter, and 40% to 50% less carbon monoxide than homes using electricity as a total energy source due to the pollution caused by electric generation. These are the "criteria" air pollutants regulated by the Clean Air Act that contribute to urban smog and ozone depletion.
According to a consensus of area realtors in the communities where UPL has installed natural gas distribution systems, homes connected to natural gas enjoy an average appreciation in property resale value of 5% to 10% over similar homes without gas service. This beneficial increase in property value is seldom, if ever, reflected in the home's value for property tax purposes. In addition, connection to natural gas service can have aesthetic value as well by eliminating an external propane tank or an external or internal oil tank.
- We partner you with non-profit, member-owned gas co-op to provide gas service to new homes.
- We have more than 20 years experience installing more than 2,000 miles of gas line.
- We time installation on your schedule.
- We offer aggregation of gas purchasing for homeowners and competitive upfront installation costs.
- We eliminate the frustration of dealing with large gas utility companies.
- Installing gas distribution lines and complete restoration of surface
- Operating and maintaining the gas distribution system and emergency service
- Adhering strictly to all state and federal pipeline safety regulations
- Establishing and maintaining a customer service center for all accounting services, including billing and collection
- Preparing and filing all required governmental reporting
There are a number of costs associated with the installation and use of a natural gas distribution system. The principal costs and their estimated magnitude are outlined below.
Distribution System Construction and Surface Restoration
Cost for the construction of the distribution system, the installation of all main distribution lines, and the complete restoration of the surface to its original contour are based on multiple factors and assessed on a per-project basis.
Residential Tie-In Cost
Tie-in costs are determined during the appraisal phase of the project. The cost of new projects can vary depending on a variety of conditions including local contractors, ground conditions, and distance from the main distribution line to the home. The cost to tie in is usually less when the homeowner elects to install their line during the construction phase of the project.
Application for Membership and Approval to the Co-Op
Residents can apply for membership to join the co-op for a fee set by the Cooperative Board of Trustees; typically the one-time fee has been $25. Only those applicants approved for membership will be invoiced for the one-time fee.
Monthly Service Charge
The co-op will charge a monthly service fee from each connected residence to offset the administrative and operating cost. This service fee is comparable to the monthly service fee charged by natural gas utilities and compensates the co-op for operating and maintaining the system and providing emergency services.
Cost of Gas
The cost of gas is comprised of two components. The first component is the gas commodity itself. The second is a delivery charge for transporting the gas from its source (Gulf of Mexico or Canada) to the individual homes. This component is comparable to the tariff charged by public utility companies. All gas related charges are billed at actual cost to the co-op members. The total of these two components for previous projects has been comparable to other utility companies and less expensive than most other energy alternative.
- There is one master meter off upstream gas (utility) system.
- The co-op owns and operates system within the development, up to each curb valve and the meter.
- Homeowner owns service line from street to house.
Printable Public Awareness Message
Natural gas is a safe, clean-burning form of energy. Natural gas pipelines are built and operated in accordance with state and federal safety codes. To avoid any unforeseen problems make sure you know what's below and call before you start digging.
Read and download our public awareness message.