Electric Homes Can Switch to Gas: Meeting is Thursday

Reminder: Strongsville will host meeting on converting to natural gas at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 20

Owners of all-electric homes are invited to a meeting in Strongsville to look into the possibility of converting to natural gas heat

Mayor Tom Perciak has scheduled a community meeting for  6:30 p.m. Jan. 20 in the Event Center at the ,  to discuss the possibility of converting electric homes to gas heat.

"Many people are unaware Columbia Gas would be interested in bringing gas into their subdivisions," Perciak said.

The issue became a hot one here and in other suburbs after First Energy abruptly eliminated a long-standing discount for all-electric homeowners earlier this year, more than doubling monthly bills for some. At public meetings hosted by Strongsville, residents complained they would not have bought homes with electric heat if they'd believed the decades-old discount would be taken away.

Following pressure from elected officials, the Public Utilities Commission Ohio temporarily restored the discount pending further investigation.

The mayor said he knows gas lines are already available in some subdivisions and could be installed in others. Residents need to learn the cost of tying into those lines and weigh it against their future cost savings -- and the increased value of their homes that would result from a switch.

"Most homes served by gas heat sell faster, and at a better price, than electric," Perciak said.

More than 100,000 First Energy residential customers heat with electricity. 

In October, the PUCO scheduled six local public hearings to give First Energy customers a chance to express their views on electric rates. One of the hearings, held Oct. 27 at ,  drew hundreds of people and calls for First Energy to live up to its promise and re-instate the discounts permanently -- preferably at company expense rather than passing on the costs to other customers.


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