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February 27, 2013 | last updated February 27, 2013 10:58 am

Tri-town group OKs Summit natural gas plan

Three southern Maine towns will voice support to state regulators for a proposal by Summit Natural Gas of Maine to extend natural gas service through Cumberland, Falmouth and Yarmouth.

The Forecaster reported that Falmouth on Monday became the last of the three towns to support Summit's proposal, which competed with an expansion plan from Maine Natural Gas.

A decision by the three towns will not determine which company provides the service, the paper reported, but Cumberland Town Manager Bill Shane, who led the tri-town exploration of natural gas service, said he feels the municipal commitment to hook up with Summit, if the PUC approves the company's plan and rates, will be compelling for state regulators.

The tri-town group hopes to reduce municipal heating costs by switching to natural gas. In January, the towns solicited three companies — including Unitil, which did not submit a proposal by the Jan. 25 deadline — to provide proposals for extending a natural gas pipeline that runs through the western part of Cumberland.

The paper reported that the plans were rated on the companies' prior experience, saturation plan and pricing structure.

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