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July 18, 2017

Unitil to offer natural gas service in Sanford

Unitil, the largest natural gas provider in Maine, received approval to convert up to 2,100 homes and businesses in Sanford to natural gas.

The expansion program, approved last month by the Maine Public Utilities Commission, is the second of its kind in the state.

Instead of asking prospective customers to pay an up-front conversion cost for the expansion, the "targeted area buildout” surcharge would make the conversion cost part of a new customer’s monthly heating bill. For a residential heating customer, the surcharge would be approximately 10.42 cents per cubic feet of gas.

“We first launched this innovative new way to bring natural gas to new customers in Saco last year and we were incredibly pleased with the initial interest within the community,” Unitil spokesman Alec O’Meara said. “Eliminating the upfront expansion cost to customers helps lower that initial barrier to conversion, and we’re thrilled we are able to take this new way to bring a cleaner, more affordable heating option to customers in the City of Sanford.”

This new build-out would begin in 2018 and the company anticipates approximately 17.5 miles of new gas main to be installed over the following three years. The expansion area will include Main Street from the new Sanford High School up to the location of the existing high and middle schools. From there, service will eventually extend over the Mousam River and up to Southern Maine Health Care on June and Cottage Street, as well as to side streets on either side of Main Street and Cottage Street. In order to make sure this expansion best fits the needs of Sanford, Unitil worked closely with both state and city officials on the overall plan design.

“Diversity in energy options is one of Sanford’s core initiatives,” said Sanford City Manager Steven Buck.

Unitil Corp. (NYSE: UTL), which is based in Hampton, N.H., is a public utility holding company with operations in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Its utilities serve 104,300 electric customers and 79,900 natural gas customers. Subsidiaries include Usource, Unitil’s non-regulated business segment.

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