Photo by Teah Dowling
Mike Keenan and Timothy Karski of NYSEG were present at last week’s Schuyler Falls public hearing on incorporating natural gas into the town.
SCHUYLER FALLS — Last week, officials approved the franchise agreement with NYSEG to incorporate natural gas into the town.
NYSEG held a public information meeting at the Schuyler Falls town hall Wednesday to answer questions about the expansion.
The agreement was approved unanimously by the town board. NYSEG’s next step is to conduct a feasibility study on where to put the main line.
The streets chosen will be dependent on feedback from residents who stand to be served by the project, said Mike Keenan, a NYSEG gas marketing and sales analyst.
Residents will be receiving surveys in the mail, he said. The exact time has not yet been determined.
Areas with a higher population density, he said, will be targeted first. The probability that natural gas will be expanded into areas with low population areas is low, he said.
“It’s very expensive to extend natural gas,” Timothy Karski, manager of programs/projects of NYSEG in Geneva, said. “We won’t be able to serve the entire township.”
The exact cost of the total project will be dependent on how many residents are on board to participate and what streets will be used for the first expansion, said Keenan.
The estimated project costs will be dependent on which streets the line will be installed.
NYSEG will be covering full costs, said Karski, so the project comes at no extra cost to the town.
The only cost to the taxpayers, said Supervisor Rick Potiker, would be if their property does not fall within 100 feet of the main line, in which they would need to pay for the remainder of the piping.
Discussions to incorporate natural gas in the town began about five years ago, Potiker said, after town residents called for a less expensive way to heat their homes.
The town eventually reached a standstill on where the main gas line would be placed.
Initially, the town looked to bring the line through on Route 22B across the old Morrisonville bridge where the town of Plattsburgh gas line ends.
Potiker said NYSEG refused to put the gas lines on the bridge due to it being too unstable. Ice jams and flooding were big concerns.
The only way they could get the line through was by the rockbed of the river — putting the cost of the project out of reach.
Different suggestions arose on where to place the lines. However, Potiker said the town ultimately decided to wait on the bridge to be replaced.
The Morrisonville Bridge opened September 2015, which also opened the gateway toward the natural gas expansion.
However, NYSEG is still unsure as to whether a line can be placed over the bridge.
“There’s no guarantee at this point,” Karski said.
A starting place has yet to be identified. Besides Route 22B, there are several other existing lines located on Salmon River Road, Rand Hill Road and Route 3 in Cadyville.
Keenan said it will be several years before residents see natural gas in the town due to a number of other expansions in Peru, Dannemora, Saranac, Plattsburgh and Champlain.
“It’s going to be awhile,” he said. “But it’s well worth the wait.”
The representatives of NYSEG stated the transition from propane and oil to natural gas would mean lower bills for years to come.
Interested customers can see exactly how much could be saved on NYSEG’s website through a calculator that takes a household’s current substance and its usage and compares it to natural gas rates.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.