MALONE — Enbridge-St. Lawrence Gas is opening an office in Malone to sign up customers for natural-gas service expected to begin this fall.
The office, in Cedar Commons on Route 11 across from McDonald’s restaurant, will soon be staffed by a customer-service representative who can determine if and when a neighborhood or street could have gas service.
The hours of operation of the new office have not been established, and the telephone is not installed yet, but those details are to be worked out within the next few weeks, said Phil St. Amand, the company’s sales manager.
The company is building the 48-mile pipeline in two phases from the St. Lawrence County town of Norfolk to the village limits of Chateaugay.
It will cross from St. Lawrence to Franklin county at Moira, mostly follow an abandoned railroad bed and finish in Malone the first year then continue on to Chateaugay in the second phase, officials said.
BIGGER USERS FIRST
Large-scale users will go online first, including school districts, state prisons, Alice Hyde Medical Center, county buildings, the Agri-Mark McCadam Cheese plant in Chateaugay and the North Lawrence Dairy plant in St. Lawrence County.
But homeowners near these sites can be added as the project progresses, said Jim Ward, general manager for St. Lawrence Gas.
Already, 125 customers are signed up, he said, and advertising on local radio stations is expected to generate even more interest.
LINK TO HOME
Just like in a municipal project that brings a waterline past a property, with laterals placed to add individual homes, the company will bring service to a property as the gas pipeline is installed.
But it will be up to the homeowner to extend it into the building.
“And if there is no interest on that street, we may not go down that street,” Ward said.
Construction on the $41 million project continues on County Route 6 in the Town of Moira and will move into Malone this summer, so service can start “by the end of 2013,” he said.
There were a few setbacks, such as weather issues and dealing with rocky areas that weren’t anticipated, but once pressure testing is done, the company expects to turn the gas on for North Lawrence within the next month and build the relay stations it needs along the pipeline route.
Ward said he expects 50 to 75 commercial users on the line by the end of the year.
St. Lawrence Gas estimates it will serve 1,926 residential customers, 343 commercial users and two industrial customers by the fifth year.
Franklin County contributed $1.425 million for project, Sen. Betty Little (R-Queensbury) secured $2 million, and $2.5 million is coming from Empire State Development funds.
Since it is benefiting, St. Lawrence County was asked to contribute $600,000 toward the project, but legislators there have so far not done so.
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