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Natural Gas Service Expanding In Town Of Plattsburgh

WAMC/Pat Bradley

NYSEG, the New York State Energy and Gas Corporation, announced Wednesday that it will expand natural gas service in the town of Plattsburgh to at least a thousand new customers.

The utility plans to lay 17 miles of pipeline and expand service to more than a thousand new customers now that the New York State Public Service Commission has approved NYSEG’s request to expand natural gas service in the Town of Plattsburgh.

NYSEG Customer Services and Systems Director Mark Beaudoin says the project expands upon a current installation undertaking, which is the largest natural gas project the company has undertaken in the past 15 years.  “Over the next three years we’ll be making clean, economical natural gas available to more than one thousand homes and businesses in the community. Once the expansion is complete more than 70 percent of the homes and businesses in the town will have access to clean natural gas.”

Town of Plattsburgh Supervisor Bernie Bassett says the availability of natural gas is critical to economic development.  “Natural gas is a far less expensive source.  So we’re hoping this information will attract not only businesses but individuals considering building a new home or home expansion into the community, which adds to the regional economy.”

Bassett added that many of the area’s larger industries already have the option to connect to natural gas. The new gas mains will provide service to residential and small businesses.  “The residential demand has been strong. People are frustrated and rightfully so. Here we go again. We’ve heard this before. But we’ve never put a date on it. We’ve never shown the maps of where this is happening. As this gets going we’re going to be talking about the step that expands from these lines to the next street and to the next part of our community. My concern was will they have enough contractors?  There are contractors that install heating systems. This is creating  work for them too.”

Mark Beaudoin notes that NYSEG’s original franchise order for natural gas only allowed the company to expand in specific areas of the Town of Plattsburgh. The new order issued by the Public Service Commission allows it to expand in any part of the town in which there is customer demand, as long as it is economically viable.  “The customer interest is going to allow us to expand our system to make it economic. It allows us to invest in the large capital expansion here based on the revenue projections that we have with the customers. We’ve had a franchise here since the late ‘80's and we’ve continued to grow it out.  But now with the Public Service Commission’s order we’re allowed to grow it out in a much grander scale.”

The Public Service Commissionapproved a build-out plan through 2017, and according to NYSEG Manager of Marketing and Sales David Gridley, it targets high residence areas.  “Their goal was really to try to get natural gas to as many homeowners and businesses as quickly as possible. That’s why I believe the Public Service Commission approved going to Cumberland Head first and then building out a couple years after that. I think it just comes down to getting gas to as many customers as quickly as possible.”

A letter and additional information is being mailed to homes and businesses in the expansion area.

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