LAKEWAY, Texas (KXAN) – A year a half ago, the only options for heat in most of Lakeway were electric or propane. Then, city leaders gave the nod for companies to build the necessary infrastructure for natural gas. Now, more than 400 homes are in service, and hundreds more are currently being built.
Sweetwater, Ladera, and Serene Hills are the newest Lakeway area subdivisions boasting the use of natural gas through Texas Gas Service.
Texas Gas Service is the third largest natural gas provider in the state, serving more than 600,000 customers in nearly 100 different communities. Residents in Sweetwater told KXAN natural gas was one of the main reasons they moved in.
“I have a friend who lives in this area, and he has propane. When I spoke with him, he was complaining about the high price of propane this past winter,” said Rob Bladen. “He said his bills were several hundred dollars a month! We moved here six months ago from Utah. We had natural gas there, and wanted it here, too, because it’s cheaper and cleaner.”
Bladen said his natural gas bills average less than $30 a month. Even with TGS’s rate recent rate hike, Bladen says he is a satisfied customer because his bills are always lower than his friends who have propane.
KXAN did an investigation into the propane company, Texas Community Propane, which services the Belterra subdivision in southwest Austin. Under that service, residents are locked into using not only propane, but also solely TCP. Should they choose to switch to all electric, residents are required to pay a “break fee” close to $1,000.
Right now, there are only eight companies who service Texas communities using propane. Natural gas is the most common gas in use in Texas, and more lines are being put in all over the state. TGS says it was also in negotiations with at least one propane company to purchase their lines and convert them to use for natural gas. However, those negotiations broke down when a mutually acceptable price could not be found.
You can read Community Impact’s full story on natural gas growth here.