Natural gas war brewing in Goochland County

GOOCHLAND COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — A war is brewing in Goochland County over natural gas.

A gas company will charge a homeowner thousands of dollars to install a gas line, but the city says they’ll do it for free.

Scott Parks moved his family into a home in Goochland County three years go. Right now, his house uses propane gas, but he wants to convert to natural gas.

“Well, I have a buried tank in my side yard here and I have a gauge located right here,” he explained. “And whenever I need new gas they come and deliver it by truck.

“Natural gas is cheaper, it’s cleaner, it’s more efficient; I don’t have to think about it, I don’t have to have it delivered,” Parks added. “I don’t have to shop propane companies for the lowest prices, things of that nature.”

The Goochland homeowner said he was working to make the conversion with the City of Richmond, but the effort came to a screeching halt.

“So we felt were in good shape, about a month ago Columbia Gas of Virginia stood up and said, ‘you can’t get natural gas from the City of Richmond, you have to go and get it through us, and no one else,” Parks said. “They said they have ultimate rights to Goochland County.”

Columbia Gas of Virginia did release a statement which explained that, under the current law, it is the only natural gas provider for Goochland County.

We greatly appreciate that people want natural gas service, and we work hard to make that service available whenever we can under rules set forth by Virginia law.  

Virginia law dictates that there be only one regulated gas company in a given area.  Under the law, Columbia Gas of Virginia is the only authorized natural gas service provider for Goochland County.

Goochland County is an important and growing market for Columbia, and we are in the process of expanding our system in the county.  Since learning of this particular situation, we have been working with local residents to gather information and assess options for connecting new customers.  That work is ongoing.

Any costs associated with connecting new customers are determined under procedures approved by the Virginia State Corporation Commission.  Those procedures are designed to treat all customers fairly and make sure that existing customers are not unfairly asked to subsidize the cost of connecting new customers.

Parks told 8News he believes a state code allows residents to shop for a second natural gas provider.

In the meantime, Parks said he and others already have the backing of Goochland County leaders and they are also getting help from state legislators.

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