I disagree with a recent editorial that state-backed loans for pipeline expansion would help Maine residents dependent on oil. The newspaper’s opinion that pipeline extension would lower Maine’s chronically high energy costs is simply fantasy, and state-backed loans would likely only subsidize big business and industrial development.

The track record of the gas industry appears to indicate interest only in connecting to big projects such as the gas-to-energy plant in Westbrook, but where has it extended gas into residential neighborhoods? Ask the gas company if it is going to extend those gas lines beyond areas for potential industrial and commercial development and you will find the answer is no.

So how then do we lower Maine’s chronically high energy costs for home- owners?

Research throughout Greater Portland on how many homes have been built since developers shied away from electric heat would undoubtedly reveal a shocking number of homes heated with oil. An interesting comparison would be the total number of residential homes within the gas company’s service area compared to the number of residential customers it serves.

I live in a development where all 25 homes are heated with oil. I contacted the local natural gas company on behalf of others and myself in hopes it would extend the nearby gas line into our neighborhood, however the so-called business development department didn’t seem too interested in developing any of our business.

The state should not help finance gas line expansion unless extension into existing residential developments is required, so that big businesses aren’t the only ones who can reduce their high energy costs.