March 1st, 2013
Annual economic impact of project is more than $20 million
AUGUSTA, Maine – Summit Natural Gas of Maine has announced that the Augusta-based company has received approval by the town councils of Cumberland, Falmouth and Yarmouth to provide natural gas line and utility service to their businesses and residents starting in 2014. The proposal from Summit Natural Gas of Maine was selected as part of the evaluation process conducted by the town managers of the three communities. Priority scoring was given to the level of experience, saturation commitment and pricing. The total economic impact of the project on an annual basis, including customer service, job creation and property tax revenue, is more than $20 million.
“We are thrilled that the towns of Cumberland, Falmouth and Yarmouth have selected our company to provide their residents and businesses with natural gas service. Our business model is a perfect match for these three towns because our approach is to make a significant investment into an area so that the greatest number of customers can access our natural gas service and begin to save money. We know that the decision by the towns to select our proposal means that people in these communities will see a very positive economic impact from our project and we are proud to have this opportunity,” said Eric Earnest, Summit Natural Gas of Maine’s chief operating officer.
The company’s proposal, pending approval from the Maine Public Utilities Commission, outlines the plan from Summit Natural Gas of Maine to invest $72.5 million in distribution and service lines for the three communities. The proposed project includes a commitment from Summit Natural Gas of Maine to install $9.5 million in high-pressure steel transmission lines and another $63 million in high density polyethylene plastic distribution lines. This translates into the installation of approximately 32 miles of transmission lines and 213 miles of distribution lines in the three communities. The significant amount of infrastructure will allow the company to reach the majority of potential customers in the area where they intend to have an 86 percent customer saturation rate, approximately 7,659 total customers on the system in the next five years.
Natural gas prices will provide residents a competitive cost advantage compared with other fuel sources for the foreseeable future, and substantial savings for business owners and homeowners. Based on variables provided by the communities, Summit Natural Gas of Maine projects the average homeowner in these three communities will have the potential of saving approximately $1,283 annually.
“When individual homeowners and business owners begin to see the significant money we can help them save, it will have a very positive impact on the local economy and a tremendously positive impact on the community. When we did the math, we were excited that the savings for the residents will total close to $10 million. This money will then give families and business owners more financial flexibility and is also very likely going to go directly back into the local economy. Our team is proud to have the opportunity to help Mainers save money,” stated Michael Duguay, Summit Natural Gas of Maine’s director of business development.
Summit operates twenty similar local natural gas distribution systems throughout Colorado and Missouri where at least 80 percent of all businesses and residents have converted over to natural gas.
In addition to the work in Cumberland, Falmouth and Yarmouth, Summit Natural Gas of Maine will make an investment in the Kennebec Valley of approximately $240 million, creating an estimated 435 jobs, and plans to serve about 15,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers by its third year of operation. The project will start in the Augusta area and the pipeline will stretch north through Waterville and end in Madison. The company plans to begin construction by May 1, 2013 and expects to be operational by early fall.
Summit Utilities, Inc., the parent company of Summit Natural Gas of Maine, operates 20 natural gas districts throughout Colorado and Missouri, and specializes in providing natural gas to areas that are either hard to serve or that aren’t being served. These districts represent approximately 36,000 customers, $260 million dollars in assets, 400 miles of high-pressure steel main lines and approximately 1,500 miles of polyethylene gas main lines.