Manufacturing

NYSEG explores natural-gas interest in Town of Plattsburgh

By: DAN HEATH

PLATTSBURGH — New York State Electric and Gas is gauging interest in natural-gas service to more residences and businesses in the Town of Plattsburgh.

The utility recently mailed potential customers a survey, which can also be found on the Town of Plattsburgh website at townofplattsburgh.com or completed online at the NYSEG website at nyseg.com/gastplatts.

Town Deputy Supervisor Martin Mannix urged all those interested to respond. He said that filling out a survey comes with no obligation to actually switch to natural gas.

“We want our citizens to respond to that mailing so there is proof of a clear desire to have natural gas,” he said. “Having a willing supply of customers is a key to obtaining service.”

WINDOW OPENED

NYSEG reached agreement with the town to provide natural-gas service in 1997. That was then approved by the New York Public Service Commission.

Gas is already available in the town along Route 3 to Cadyville and then Route 374 to Dannemora; Route 22B to Morrisonville and up Rand Hill Road to Route 3; Route 9 to near Cliff Haven; and along Banker Road to Nova Bus, as well as a number of side streets along those routes.

The initial targets were larger commercial enterprises, with service offered to residences along those routes.

NYSEG recently sought Public Service Commission approval for an additional natural-gas line to the Nova Bus factory on Banker Road in order to supply fuel for compressed-natural-gas-powered buses the company may manufacture.

“That opened a window whereby the Town of Plattsburgh and NYSEG can both benefit from a discussion of how to work together to bring natural gas to more residences and smaller business enterprises (elsewhere in the town),” Mannix said.

STATE PUSH

It helps that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has challenged the Public Service Commission to come up with ways to expand opportunities for natural-gas service across the state as part of the New York Energy Highway initiative.

Mannix is a member of a state committee that includes representatives from the Public Service Commission, natural-gas providers, public officials and interested citizens.

Natural gas makes sense because it is cheaper and more environmentally friendly, town officials say. There is an abundant supply available through the natural-gas pipeline that runs along Interstate 87 from the Quebec border to Plattsburgh.

GAS UPGRADES

The town has already replaced five oil furnaces in its Highway Department garage with 13 natural-gas furnaces and heaters. Mannix said they now have better heat at a substantially reduced cost.

A similar move at the Arthur L. Lefevre Senior Apartments has reduced bills to 40 percent of the old fuel-oil system.

The town is working to develop a public/private partnership that might help with the cost of conversion to natural-gas-compatible equipment. Town Supervisor Bernie Bassett said UFirst Federal Credit Union has indicated a willingness to explore ways to help.

DUE MARCH 14

The 10-question survey comes with a natural-gas information sheet that shows the estimated annual energy cost is about one-third of that for propane, fuel oil or electricity.

Completed surveys are due by March 14. Bassett said a glitch that caused some online surveys to be bounced back has been corrected by NYSEG. They can also be faxed to (607) 762-5922.

Questions can be directed to Mannix at 562-6813.

Email Dan Heath: dheath@pressrepublican.com

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