Natural gas is affordable, efficient, reliable and safe. It’s also flexible enough to serve customers’ everyday energy needs with lower carbon emissions than other fossil fuels.

Here’s why natural gas is a sustainable choice:

1. Lower Emissions

Households that use natural gas for heating, cooking and clothes drying produce about 20 percent less carbon dioxide equivalent emissions than comparable all-electric homes when considering energy use and emissions along the full fuel cycle, which examines all impacts associated with energy use, according to a recent report by the American Gas Association.

From production to a customer’s home, the natural gas delivery system is about 92 percent efficient. In contrast, almost 63 percent of the energy needed to satisfy consumers’ electricity needs is used or lost in the process of generation, transmission, and distribution.

Natural gas used directly by residents accounts for less than five percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, with significantly lower emissions than other fossil fuels, according to the report.

2. Reliability

Despite advances in electric heating technology, heat pumps are best suited for moderate heating and cooling needs. Heating and cooling contractors report that electric heat sources can become less efficient or stop working in temperatures at or below 35 degrees. Flagstaff, for example, has an average of more than 200 days a year in which temperatures reach 35 degrees or below. Local contractors advise customers that a heat pump alone may not be sufficient to meet their heating needs.

Natural gas service disruptions are rare. Unplanned outages affect just 1 in 800 customers, according to the Gas Technology Institute.

3. Efficiency

Continued efficiency improvements helped hold total residential natural gas consumption levels steady since 1970, even as the number of customers served increased by 86 percent, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Thanks to advancements in gas furnaces, water heaters, insulation and other home technologies – combined with utility energy efficiency programs – the average U.S. home uses 40 percent less natural gas than it did 40 years ago, according to the AGA.

4. Safety

UniSource Energy Services is a strong supporter of public safety and actively works to prevent damage to our facilities, reducing potential service outages and emissions. We continue to improve service and efficiency with improvements to our infrastructure. For example, we’re installing a network of digital pressure recorders that will improve system monitoring while supporting sustainability through reduced vehicle use.

5. Affordable Energy

Households that use natural gas for water heating, cooking and clothes drying enjoy energy cost savings compared to homes that use electric power for the same purposes, according to the AGA. This remains true even when natural gas costs climb because electric providers also rely on natural gas and pass those higher fuel and purchased power costs along to customers.

“The safety and comfort of every one of the 160,000 residents we serve in northern and southern Arizona is important to us, but we also know our customers increasingly want to make sustainable choices for the future,” said Martin Anaya, Director of UniSource Gas. “We’re very proud to be able to deliver on all of those promises.”

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