There’s a movement afoot in Wyoming County to have natural gas delivered to residences and businesses in Tunkhannock.
However, the process will involved more than simply installing a delivery pipe throughout the borough.
Natural gas provider UGI has been making inquiries at the county and local level in the hopes of obtaining grants to establish a delivery system in Tunkhannock Borough. According to Don Brominski, Director of Business Development UGI Utilities, the project calls for the laying of a natural gas pipeline across Tunkhannock Creek near the Shadowbrook Inn, and running it to the Tunkhannock Area High School.
The pipeline would be established through UGI’s Growth Extension Tariff program, Brominski said. Information available on UGI’s website explains that the GET Gas program “is designed to provide natural gas to additional areas, which are currently unserved or underserved.”
Brominski explained that UGI cannot simply install a natural gas line, because it would run contrary to tariff extension protection rules set down by the Public Utility Commission, which protects existing customers from bearing the cost of uneconomic main extensions.
What GET Gas does is people who sign up for natural gas delivery in Tunkhannock would pay a hookup fee of $44.90 per month over a 10-year period. Those wishing to could pay $3,177 up front to pay off entire hookup fee in one lump sum, Brominski said.
“GET Gas assumes all customer receiving service from the new facilities will share the cost of the facilities and allows the cost of the extension to be paid over time,” according to the website.
Brominski explained that UGI is hoping to attract at least 700 customers in Tunkhannock over the 12-year period the GET Gas program is in effect for the area.
Another criteria is that the cost of the program may not exceed $10,000 per new anticipated customer. As currently projected, the cost of the main extension would be about $15,000 per customer.
“We’ve got our work cut out for us,” Brominski said.
In an attempt to offset the costs, UGI is asking for support from community leaders and elected officials, in the hopes of obtaining grants to support the project. On Monday, commissioners met with representatives from Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce and the Northern Tier Regional Planning and Development Commission to discuss what options are available to provided necessary support to IGA.
Brominski said that a station would be construction to draw gas from the Williams-Springville line. An eight-inch plastic line would run from the station down Sunnyside Road, and then up and down the streets through the borough.
Because it’s easier, the preferred method of installing the delivery pipes would be on land adjacent to streets, Brominski said. If it would be necessary to install a line under a street, UGI would first obtain permission from the borough or from PennDOT if it is a state road.
Even with the hookup fee, UGI is confident that natural gas will be economically viable customers in Tunkhannock compared to those who heat their homes with oil, Brominski said. Although natural gas can power such appliances as dryers and stoves, the real cost savings is in home heating and hot water heaters.
Customers who decide they want to sign up for natural gas service can have a natural gas furnace installed, or take steps to have an existing system converted. Those using propane can have a special orifice installed to use natural gas, Brominski said. Those with new oil furnaces can also have their systems converted, he explained, but people with older oil furnaces should have them replaced with natural gas.
Brominski said too early to give an anticipated start date for the installation.
Brominski said that people in Tunkhannock who are interested in participating in the GET Gas program can sign up at https://www.ugi.com/gas-for-homes/switch/getgas/. The more people who sign up, the more likely the program will go through.
“We’re really excited about this,” he said.