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Norwich natural gas expansion project completed, deemed a success

December 23, 2018

Norwich — Nearly eight years of work is done, 3 million, adding 10 million, all taxable development.

The gate stations measure the flow of natural gas that is received by NPU and reduce natural gas pressure from the high-pressure transmission lines to the lower pressure distribution pipelines that serve commercial and residential customers, NPU spokesman Chris Riley said.

The first natural gas gate station in the Oakland Heights neighborhood was completed in 2016 and generates approximately 150,000 in taxes, Riley said.

The NPU revenue payments, plus the taxes paid by Enbridge brought the total additional revenue to the city to $813,000, NPU officials said.

The bonds for the work also included funding for utility meter upgrades throughout the city. Brining said gas meter upgrades are about 60 percent complete and replacement of all services meters is 80 percent complete. Meter upgrades are expected to be done by the end of 2019.

Brining organized and attended dozens of public information forums with each bond approval to explain the expansion and gauge support neighborhood by neighborhood before the roads were ripped up and the line laid out. Local banks Dime Bank and Eastern Savings Bank offered financing to homeowners interested in converting to natural gas furnaces.

Although voters approved city funds for the projects, no taxpayer money was used for the gas expansion. New lines were added where anticipated revenue from enough new customers committed to tying in to the system would pay for the expansion lines.

Brining said while the major expansions are completed, individual customers continue to tie in to lines already in place near their houses.

“We tied in 14 new customers last month,” Brining said. “We put 28 miles of new mains in for this project. For whatever reason, some people couldn’t tie in when the lines went in.”

c.bessette@theday.com

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