Connecticut Natural Gas Corp. (CNGC) has started construction of its largest project in 30 years: a 10-mile expansion of a natural gas main into the Town of East Hampton, CT.

On Thursday, CNGC, a subsidiary of UIL Holdings Corp., said the new gas main would serve nine schools and municipal buildings in East Hampton, reach all of the town’s major businesses and provide the option of gas service to more than 400 residences and businesses along the pipeline’s path.

“We are very excited about this project and what it means for energy choice to the citizens of East Hampton,” said UIL CEO James Torgerson. “This is yet another example of how the Comprehensive Energy Strategy [CES] is working to help make Connecticut a cleaner, more competitive state. We expect in the years ahead to continue to bring natural gas to more communities and more neighborhoods where it wasn’t available before.”

Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy signed CES legislation, which is designed to expand the state’s gas distribution system, in July 2013 (see Daily GPI, July 11, 2013; June 18, 2013). One month earlier, three utilities in the state — CNGC, the Southern Connecticut Gas Co. and the Yankee Gas Services Co., now Eversource Energy — submitted a joint gas expansion plan with Connecticut’s Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) and the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

Collectively, expansions by the three utilities are expected to add 280,000 gas customers over the next 10 years.

According to CNGC, the Town of East Hampton and others, including American Distilling Inc., signed up to be anchor customers for the new gas line.

“We’re excited about this project for a number of reasons,” said American Distilling CEO Ed Jackowitz. “Switching to gas goes hand-in-hand with our philosophy to be as environmentally friendly as we can be. Having natural gas delivered via the new main will help improve the efficiency of our process. And we expect significant cost savings by using natural gas instead of fuel oil. As always, we strive to be faster, better and cheaper — and natural gas will help with all of the above.”

Construction of the project began in April, and the gas main is expected to be completed in time for the 2015-2016 winter heating season.

Eversource completed its Wilton Gas Expansion Project — a 3.5-mile, eight-inch diameter pipeline through the Town of Wilton, CT — at the end of November (see Daily GPI, Aug. 6, 2014).