The New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) recently approved St. Lawrence Gas Co.'s amended certificate of public convenience and necessity for a system expansion in upstate New York. Construction is set to begin this month, the Enbridge Gas Distribution subsidiary said.

St. Lawrence Gas is planning to expand its distribution system to provide natural gas to the communities of Winthrop, Brasher Falls and North Lawrence in St. Lawrence County and Moira, North Bangor, Brushton, Malone, Burke and Chateaugay in Franklin County over the next several years.

"Bringing natural gas to this new market area will provide an economic and environmentally desirable fuel choice to residential, commercial and industrial customers," said Richard Campbell, president of St. Lawrence Gas.

The PSC last month approved the company's request, saying it could assess construction costs and an extended surcharge to users over the next seven years. The PSC previously authorized St. Lawrence Gas to build 48 miles of transmission line, along with associated distribution and service lines (see Daily GPI, Feb. 18, 2011).

St. Lawrence had estimated cost for the project at $23.5 million with $15.4 million of that amount going toward construction of the gas transmission line. The company told the PUC that estimated construction costs have nearly doubled since its initial application, bringing the total cost of the project to $40.6 million, with the gas transmission line costing an estimated $31.5 million.

St. Lawrence told the PUC it will split the expansion project into two construction phases.

The pipeline extension will be connected with the company's pre-existing 10-inch diameter transmission line in the Town of Norfolk in St. Lawrence County and continue about 48 miles to the Village of Chateaugay in Franklin County. The company has estimated that the new transmission and distribution lines will enable it to add two industrial customers, 372 commercial or institutional customers and 2,113 residential customers in the project's first five years.

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