In defence of natural gas
I'll admit it. I like natural gas and want to hang onto it. I cook with it and appreciate its warm flames on a winter's night.
The prevailing winds suggest domestic gas has had its day because it's a fossil fuel and is far more costly than it was.
In the ACT, new homes are no longer obliged to be connected to the gas, and various plans to de-gas homes are afoot in a bid to save us money.
But so far as I can see, while there is an imperative to (sometime and somehow) electrify our homes, no one asked me for my views. Have they asked you?
The switch from gas to electric appliances can be costly, and the return on investment takes time. Who is going to pay?
Where do you sit on the gas debate? Maybe you think the fuel has had its day, or perhaps you want or can only afford to hang on to it.
Hydrogen gas is meant to be one of the great cleaner energy futures, and domestic appliances can be adapted to run on it. Are we in danger of throwing out the baby with the tepid bathwater?
The technicalities of natural gas are most people's expertise. It has lower emissions than coal, but in the rush to electrify everything, much of our power still comes from the black stuff.
I'm interested in the consumer view, which is yours - because as this massive transition is being advocated, planned and costed, I'm not sure we have been adequately consulted.
I heard an ABC Radio National program on the subject last week. Very interesting but stupid - to abuse a dated catchphrase - because not one expert or one caller was against replacing gas with electricity ASAP.
Maybe they are correct, but I doubt one-sidedness even if I tend to agree with the side being defended. In the past, I did some work for Brighter, a campaign raising awareness of natural gas's benefits, but these thoughts are my own.
The UK government plans to subsidise replacing gas heating with heat pumps (see more here). It's a billion-dollar boiler upgrade scheme, and maybe we shall see something similar here.
Back in Australia, the sums can make sense with a new house or replacing worn-out existing gas appliances, but if you are ditching a perfectly good oven or heating system, the costs may be more chilling.
It's a fascinating debate, but consumers, perhaps especially older ones, need to be a part of it too.
How do you feel about the transition away from natural gas in our home?
Any information contained in this communication is general advice, it does not take into account your individual circumstances, objectives, financial situation or needs.