Going All-In on Electric: Insights to Consider to Cut the Gas Line

Saying “buh-bye” to the gas line is a lofty dream for many of us as we work toward a more sustainable lifestyle. If you can go a more sustainable route, why wouldn’t you? However, the barriers to going all-electric can be a little daunting, especially if you’re new to the concept. The utility companies certainly haven’t made it any easier for homeowners, either. So, today, we want to share some of what we’ve learned along the way in our research and in the firsthand experience of AE Building System’s very own Todd Collins in his own home.

Your Three Main Options: 

As you consider cutting ties with your gas company, you have three main options to consider: 

  1. Cap it at your home. When you cap it at the house, you will continue to pay a connection fee and other small fees to the utility company, because there’s still a connection in place. You may want to go this route if you are concerned that you may have a need for natural gas in your home in the future. An HVAC technician can cap things at your home for you, but keep in mind you may want to call and talk to your gas company to see what fees you can expect. 
  2. Cap the gas and remove the meter. This option is where you not only cap off the connection at your house, but you also reach out to the utility company to cap the gas at the meter, and remove the meter entirely. Typically, you get a final connection bill and at least in Todd’s case, he never got a fee for the service to cap and remove the meter. In this situation, there is still technically a gas line to the house and if gas is needed in the future, you can have it reconnected fairly easily, but likely at a cost which is unknown. 
  3. Cap lines and remove the gas line. This is the most invasive option, which includes digging up a gas line from the house to the street. This can be very expensive as you may need heavy equipment and also pay for labor to remove the line (one of our clients was quoted over $6,000 to get her gas line dug out!). People typically consider this option if they are worried about natural gas leaking into the ground and making its way into the atmosphere. While ridiculously expensive, this is also the most environmentally appropriate approach.

Collins Residence: Their Experience

If you’ve been following our blog, you know that Todd Collins and his family have been working for a long time to retrofit their tri-level home to be as sustainable as possible. They had already eliminated gas in the kitchen by switching to electric induction and convection cooking appliances. They had a big passion for lowering their carbon footprint, while improving the safety of their home with less gas. Gas cooktops can add significant hazardous pollutants to the indoor air. The added benefit of lowering monthly bills was also a nice perk in the process! 

After replacing their furnace and water heater with heat pumps that don’t rely on natural gas, they decided to cut ties with their gas lines a few months later. They went with the option to cap the gas at the house as well as remove the meter. In their experience with Xcel in Colorado, they were charged a final gas bill for usage months earlier when they capped the gas inside the house, but were not charged any fees for capping the gas outside the house and for removing the meter. That said, other utility companies may have fees, so it’s always good to ask some questions first. 

One thing that was interesting during the process, Todd’s HVAC person, Bill Lucas of GB3, got a permit with the City of Golden. When the inspector came out to make sure everything was installed to code, the inspector made the comment “Well, I guess you don’t need carbon monoxide detectors anymore.” That never occurred to Todd, but it is true. The risk of carbon monoxide poisoning due to gas combustion within the house was eliminated – another benefit. 

As we’ve seen firsthand with the Collins Residence, and heard through stories of our clients, cutting services with a utility company can come with surprise fees. We always recommend asking questions upfront about fees, timeline, and potential future fees down the road. Do your research upfront so you have fewer surprises in the process. We’ve also seen that this process is worth the effort: lower energy bills, healthier homes, and more sustainable energy usage! If you’re considering cutting ties with your gas line and want to chat more, we’re always happy to share more details or information we’ve learned along the way! 

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