Energy East Takes the Lead in ME Distribution
CMP Natural Gas, a joint venture between Energy East Corp.
(formerly NYSEG) and Central Maine Power Group, started serving
customers in Windham, ME, yesterday, giving CMP Natural a big
advantage over Bangor Gas, the other company vying to distribute
gas in the state.
Although CMP Natural is only serving Windham presently, it plans
to expand distribution to 35 cities and towns within the Bethel,
greater Bangor, Waterville and Augusta, as well as the Falmouth and
Bath coastal communities before the end of the year. None of these
cities or towns previously had a gas distribution-system in place.
The company is buying gas from companies with capacity on
Portland Natural Gas Transmission pipeline (PNGT). Tim Kelley, a
CMP spokesman, said the company is in negotiations with PNGT to
purchase its own capacity on the line. He added the Maritimes
Pipeline, which begins service next year, will bolster CMP's
Kelley said the number of customers CMP hopes to sign or how
much gas the company intends to distribute once the system is
complete is confidential information. He did say the number of
customers would be "several hundred thousand."
The announcement is a setback for Bangor Gas, a joint venture
between Bangor Hydro and Sempra Energy. Bangor has plans to
implement a competing distribution program, but Denise King, a
spokesperson for the company, said service will not begin until the
Maritimes pipeline goes into service. King added that Bangor is
still confident about its chances. "They [CMP Natural] say they're
going to distribute in Bangor, but we're the ones who already have
pipe in the ground."
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