In his recent article, "The Future of Local Gas Distributors" (Feb 1, 1995, p. 20), Vinod Dar presents a vision of executives at the local distribution company (LDC) lining up to buy cemetery plots (em even as the gas marketers, charging on horseback, seize the high ground of "middle" and
That sort of bravado cannot substitute for an in-depth knowledge of gas distribution. Mr. Dar in fact distorts or ignores many realities of the gas business. Let's look at some of the threats and responses he identifies for LDCs.
Threat (em Electric Competition. Electric-based equipment cannot approach the full-cycle fuel efficiency of gas-based equipment for water heating and steam boilers. And while electric heat pumps can compete effectively for space heating in some southern regions, they are increasingly unable to perform efficiently as one travels north. Moreover, even as heat pump technology advances, there is no reason to think that electric prime movers for such equipment cannot be replaced by gas powered prime movers.
As for space cooling, large-tonnage, multistage absorption equipment continues to gain both technological sophistication and market share. A.G.A. recently reported that the natural gas
market share of new single-family homes last year reached a record 67 percent.
Threat (em Deregulation.