Is Natural Gas Available

Looking to convert to natural gas?

First check if natural gas is available in your County and community.

Berkshire County - If your home or business is located in one of the below Berkshire county towns that we serve, you can use our online Interested in Natural Gas form to be contacted by a Berkshire Gas Representative. They can tell you if natural gas is available on your street, and the next steps to bring natural gas to your home or business.

Franklin and Hampshire Counties - Due to pipeline deliverability constraints, there is currently a moratorium on any new natural gas services in the communities of Amherst, Deerfield, Greenfield, Hadley, Hatfield, Montague, Sunderland and Whately. Current natural gas customers will not be affected other than they will not be able to install additional natural gas appliances or equipment.

More information about the moratorium is provided below. You can view and print our Moratorium Update (PDF).

Moratorium Overview

Berkshire Gas customers in Franklin and Hampshire Counties of Massachusetts are served by a lateral pipeline that runs from the Tennessee Gas interstate delivery pipeline in Southwick, Massachusetts to Greenfield, where it ends. Over the last two decades, the demand for natural gas has increased dramatically, without any new pipeline capacity to deliver additional supplies to the region, and demand has therefore out-paced pipeline capacity in the region.

This lateral pipeline reached full capacity in 2015. Consequently, Berkshire Gas had to invoke a moratorium on any new natural gas service in the Hampshire County communities of Amherst, Hadley, Hatfield and Sunderland in 2015. A similar moratorium was declared in the communities of Deerfield, Greenfield, Montague and Whately in late 2014.

While inexpensive natural gas has never been more plentiful in the United States than it is today, it is the limited ability to deliver that natural gas to customers that presents today’s challenge.

A moratorium on any new natural gas service has been invoked for the following communities

  • Amherst
  • Deerfield
  • Greenfield
  • Hadley
  • Hatfield
  • Montague
  • Sunderland
  • Whately

Moratorium FAQs

  • If I have an inactive service line, can it be activated? Yes, if you have used the service line since November 1, 2014, it may be reactivated. If the service line or a gas meter was shut off prior to November 1, 2014, it cannot be reactivated. The natural gas demand for that location has been committed to other customers and is no longer available for use at your location. If the gas service is eligible for reactivation, the connected gas equipment cannot exceed the load that was previously used at the location. If you have questions about your eligibility for service, connected loads or gas usage, please contact Gabe Josephs at 413.445.0211.
  • If I already have a meter, why can’t I add more load? The presence of a meter has no bearing on the availability of natural gas at your location. Natural gas availability for your location has been allocated based on your historical usage. Due to the moratorium, no additional volumes of natural gas are available for expanding usage beyond what you are currently using. Adding load without authorization may jeopardize your gas service.
  • I recently bought a property that has a gas service. When I called to setup my account I was told it couldn’t be re-activated. Why? You cannot assume that you will be guaranteed a gas account just because there is a gas service line and/or a gas meter at that location. Before buying a property, you should contact Gabe Josephs at Berkshire Gas at 413.445.0211 to find out if the service line can be transferred or whether your request is within the reactivation period.
  • Are there any exemptions or exceptions to the moratorium? No. A moratorium has been invoked across the board in the Company’s Eastern Division. This means that no additional volumes of natural gas (new or incremental) are available at any location, for any purpose regardless of the need or merits.
  • If I currently have gas, is my service in jeopardy? No, safe and reliable service is assured for our existing customers. In fact, the moratorium was declared in order to ensure the continuing reliability of service to our existing customers. You may not add to your existing service however during the moratorium
  • If I already use gas for heating, why can’t I add a gas stove or dryer? The pipeline serving Franklin and Hampshire Counties is operating at, or near, full capacity. As such, we cannot add any additional demand or usage on our distribution system. The natural gas needed for your current heating purposes has been allocated and is available for your continued use, regardless of the moratorium.
  • Can I install a natural gas fueled generator during the moratorium? No, generators cannot be installed during the moratorium.
  • If I install a natural gas fueled generator, it will only run when there is a power outage. Why wouldn’t this be approved? Due to severely constrained deliverability in Franklin and Hampshire Counties, we are unable to commit to delivering any volumes of natural gas beyond those currently used by our existing customers. While backup generators may in fact operate during a period of reduced demand, there are any number of circumstances during which they could come online during a period of normal, or even peak demand. That is a risk to our customers that we quite simply cannot take.
  • Can I replace my old gas furnace with a new furnace? Yes, as long as the load (input BTU’s) is the same as, or less than, the current load. Please contact the Berkshire Gas Energy Efficiency Department at 800.944.3212 to discuss your plans, as they may be able to assist you with this and potentially provide some financial incentive for updating your equipment.  Due to the moratorium, local plumbing and gas inspectors are not approving natural gas permits without the approval of an authorized Berkshire Gas representative first.
  • Why does a system evaluation need to be done before equipment alterations are made on my existing gas service? System evaluations are performed to assess the ability to provide the necessary pressure and volumes at a specific location for a specific load demand. Under the moratorium, no equipment can be added due to pipeline constraints.  Equipment may be replaced with “like” equipment only and may require prior approval
  • What could happen if I had new gas burning equipment installed without approval? If new natural gas burning equipment is installed during the moratorium, your natural gas service could be subject to outage or interruption if our distribution system pressures prove to be insufficient to meet the added demand. Unauthorized load increases are found through the automated meter reading system. Installing new equipment without a permit will result in a red tag of the equipment and a notification to the local inspection department. Plumbers or gas fitters performing work without a permit are subject to fines, penalties and sanctions by the Massachusetts Plumbing and Gas Board.
  • Can I replace an old tank type water heater with a new on-demand water heater? No, despite the overall reduction in natural gas used by on demand water heaters, the demand surge of an on-demand water heater at start up is 400% greater than that of a tank type water heater. Such a surge could negatively impact pressures on our distribution system and cause an outage or service interruption.
  • If I have my stove disconnected, can I install a new furnace? No, the volumes of natural gas used for home heating are typically significantly greater than those for cooking. We will only consider swapping an appliance for another “like” appliance.
  • I want to install a gas fireplace and will only use it on occasion. Will that be approved? No. By necessity a moratorium on new or added natural gas use is an “across the board” moratorium.
  • Can I install propane for heating if I already use natural gas for cooking? Yes, this is possible with the required approvals. Your plumber will need to file for a gas permit. Along with that permit, you will need a letter of permission from Berkshire Gas AND your local propane supplier. Please contact Gabe Josephs, Supervisor of Gas Field Operations at 413.445.0211 for a dual fuel permission letter from Berkshire Gas.
  • If a tenant moves out and shuts off their gas meter, can it be turned back on for a new tenant? This can only occur if the location has been in service at some point since November 1, 2014.
  • If I spoke with someone at BGC in the past, how come I now cannot get my gas, or any additional gas if I already have a service? The availability of natural gas is based on your having an active meter/service prior to November 1, 2014. If a service has been inactive for more than 5 years, or 10 years if the service is plastic, it will be retired per Massachusetts regulation (220 CMR 107.05).

Rev, 09/14/18

 

Future Service Options Analysis and Conclusions – Updated September 1, 2018.

Berkshire Gas remains committed to finding a cost-effective long-term solution to meet the demand for natural gas in Hampshire and Franklin Counties.

While an interstate pipeline proposal represented the least-cost and most reliable option for supporting growth and economic development in the region, the withdrawal of that proposal required that alternatives be fully scrutinized and analyzed in light of current market conditions.

Berkshire Gas has been actively engaged in assessing a comprehensive range of solutions to serve customer demand for additional volumes of natural gas in the Pioneer Valley. At the same time, the Company has continued to commit significant resources to aggressive leak repair and system upgrades as well as administering MASS Save’s best-in-the-nation energy efficiency programs.

Working with internal and external experts, Berkshire Gas has identified the two most practical resources to meet natural gas demand in the region. Those options are:

Option 1: New Distribution Main

A new distribution main extending from Berkshire Gas’s existing distribution system to the Tennessee Gas mainline to the south.

Option 2: New Liquefied Natural Gas Facility

A large-scale liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility constructed to include enough additional storage capacity to allow Berkshire Gas to supply a significant number of new customers. Berkshire Gas retained expert consultants to evaluate these options and also explored the possibility of pursuing the distribution main option with other regional interests.

In evaluating these options, the Company was mindful that the cost of facilities necessary to lift the moratorium should not be borne by existing customers and that any such investments must stand on their own.

Unfortunately, each of the identified solutions would require investments in the range of $70 to $100 million to serve incremental growth. This level of investment nearly equals the value of the Company’s total existing infra- structure across its entire service territory and makes the identified solutions uneconomical for customers.

With the prohibitive costs of providing additional capacity, the moratorium must remain in place until such time as a cost effective and practical alternative is found.

While the Company remains committed to evaluating options for lifting the moratorium on an ongoing basis, it has, at the same time, committed substantial resources to reinforce and add redundancy to the mechanical LNG and Propane Air systems that currently augment our pipeline natural gas supplies during the winter months.

These investments are not a solution to the moratorium; however, they will aid us in meeting our primary obligation to provide safe and reliable service to our existing customers at a competitive price.

 

 

 

List of Towns We Serve

  • Adams
  • Cheshire
  • Clarksburg
  • Dalton
  • Great Barrington
  • Lanesborough
  • Lee
  • Lenox
  • North Adams
  • Pittsfield
  • Stockbridge
  • Williamstown

Due to pipeline deliverability constraints, there is currently a moratorium on any new natural gas services in these communities:

  • Deerfield
  • Greenfield
  • Montague
  • Sunderland
  • Whately

Due to pipeline deliverability constraints, there is currently a moratorium on any new natural gas services in these communities:

  • Amherst
  • Hadley
  • Hatfield

FAQs

  • With oil price fluctuations recently, how much will I really save when converting to natural gas?  
  • Shouldn’t I consider equipment efficiency and not just price over the longer term?  
  • How would storms such as Sandy that cut electricity to millions in the Northeast affect me as a natural gas customer?  
  • What else should I know about converting to natural gas?  
  • If I already have a meter, why can’t I add more load?  
  • If I already use gas for heating, why can’t I add a gas stove or dryer?  
  • I recently bought a property that has a gas service. When I called to setup my account I was told it couldn’t be re-activated. Why?