The Compelling Case for Widespread Adoption of Residential Natural Gas Alarms

June 22, 2023

By Marc Huestis, Retired Senior Vice President, Consolidated Edison of New York

Executive Summary

Decades of experience have demonstrated that natural gas transmission and distribution infrastructure is a safe, reliable, resilient, and cost-effective energy delivery system. Over 187 million Americans and 5.8 million businesses rely on natural gas to heat their homes, warm their water, and cook their food. In addition, natural gas is our largest source of energy for electric generation, and it provides a myriad of other uses in manufacturing. ¹

Natural gas utilities continue to invest heavily in upgrading and modernizing their gas systems to minimize leaks through the replacement of leak prone cast iron and bare steel pipe. In addition, utilities expend significant effort to find and repair leaks as part of their responsibility to operate their systems as safely and efficiently as possible on behalf of their customers and the public at large.

Public safety awareness campaigns educate natural gas customers and the public about safe excavation practices and the distinctive “rotten egg” odor created by sulfur-based odorants injected into natural gas which itself is colorless and odorless. These public safety awareness campaigns emphasize the need to evacuate and immediately report the odor of natural gas leaks by calling 911 or their local utility.