November 6, 2013

3 So. Maine towns eye natural gas installation timeline

The towns of Cumberland, Falmouth and Yarmouth expect by the end of next year to have half of the planned natural gas lines in place and providing gas to 80% of their residents.

Cumberland Town Manager Bill Shane told Mainebiz that 9,600 residents could have natural gas over the next five years.

All three town councils endorsed the proposal by Summit Natural Gas as a supplier in February. Maine Natural Gas and Unitil both have rights to service those three towns, while Summit has yet to file with Maine's Public Utility Commission, Shane explained.

"It's a race to the trench," he said, though he expects Summit to file with the PUC in the next six to eight weeks. "It's just a formality. There's no compelling reason for them to not be able to offer service."

Summit already laid 6,000 feet of piping as part of the reconstruction project along Blanchard Road this summer, but Shane said that was at Summit's own risk.

Summit will invest about $42 million for the project. Shane said moving forward with the project now lies in Summit's hands in filing with the PUC. "The town has no rights other than to issue road opening permits," he said. Shane added that the other two companies are unlikely to try to also lay pipe.

He also told The Forecaster that he expects Summit to start laying more pipe in late April or early May of 2014.


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