July 31, 2014

Yankee breaks ground on $7B natural gas expansion

HBJ File Photo
HBJ File Photo
Crews work on the expansion of a natural gas transmission system, which will be needed in Connecticut if the utilities increase demand from their distribution systems

Berlin utility Yankee Gas on Monday broke ground on its natural gas system expansion, part of a statewide plan to make natural gas the fuel of choice in Connecticut through the addition of 280,000 customers.

Yankee on Monday started the first project of this expansion in Wilton, which will connect to the town's downtown business district, municipal buildings, and schools by the end of November. Wilton's energy commission estimates the town will save $500,000 annually in energy costs.

The Wilton project is a segment of the overall $7 billion natural gas system expansion performed by utilities Yankee, Connecticut Natural Gas, and Southern Connecticut Gas. By hooking up customers near existing mains and building new mains to anchor customers – like manufacturers – the utilities plan on replacing heating oil as dominant heating fuel in Connecticut.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy championed this natural gas expansion in his comprehensive energy strategy in 2012, since natural gas currently is cheaper than heating oil and emits 30 percent fewer greenhouse gases when burned.

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