Even though there is no fracking of natural gas wells in New Jersey, residents of that state are enjoying much lower heating bills this winter because of fracking. In fact, according to the AARP, using natural gas for heating costs about one-fifth of what it costs using oil. Why? The Marcellus Shale.
Public Service Electric & Gas cut bills this winter by around five percent, lifting total cuts in the last two years to 35 percent. New Jersey Natural Gas, South Jersey Gas and Elizabethtown Gas Company have done likewise.
"The shale reserves in the Marcellus, in our backyard, are huge," said Kathleen Ellis, chief operating officer of New Jersey Natural Gas. "There is no arguing that the price of gas, because of increased supply, is good for our customers."
An analysis by the AARP Public Policy Institute of heating costs for seniors found natural gas customers will average $542 to heat their homes this winter, compared with $2,675 for those using fuel oil.
Those using electric heat should average around $468. That’s because while oil prices rose in recent years, electrical prices are tied to gas because of gas-fired power plants.
State officials aren’t shy about giving credit to shale gas either: when the Board of Public Utilities announced rate cuts this summer, it pointed to a new supply line—and to shale gas produced in nearby states such as Pennsylvania.
"The development of Marcellus shale has allowed New Jersey utilities to tap into natural gas reserves locally, resulting in lower delivery costs and savings for New Jersey ratepayers," said the BPU statement.*
*The Star-Ledger (Dec 18, 2011) – Love or hate fracking, most New Jerseyans share in lower natural gas bills