Lower costs for heating oil to slow natural gas conversion

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JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) A newly released report shows that about a third of households in interior Alaska won't make the switch to natural gas once it's more widely available because of low heating oil prices.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the Interior Energy Project's study says about 1,000 homes will convert to natural gas in 2018, the year it's expected to start being distributed. By 2023, officials are anticipating nearly 11,000 natural gas customers.

The report is an updated version of a study released last year. The project's initial estimates for demand have changed now that the price of heating oil has dropped to about $2 per gallon.

The project had initially aimed to offer natural gas equivalent to $2 per gallon of heating fuel when heating fuel was around $4 per gallon.

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