Frontier Energy, a subsidiary of Sempra Energy, beganconstruction of a distribution system in Warren County, NC, wherefirst-time gas service is expected to play a significant role inthe county’s economic revitalization, the company said. The WarrenCounty pipeline is part of a $55 million distribution system beingbuilt by Frontier to serve residents and businesses in sevennorthwestern North Carolina counties.

Frontier, based in Elkin, NC, currently operates 120 miles oftransmission and distribution system in Surry, Yadkin and Wilkescounties. The system delivers gas to customers in the cities ofElkin, Mount Airy, Roaring River, Wilkesboro and Yadkinville.

Frontier’s transmission system in Warren County will begin atthe Virginia state line at the Transcontinental Pipeline tap westof U.S. Highway 1. The pipe will travel south along North CarolinaState Route 1210 to U.S. Highway 158, where it will branch to thewest toward the Soul City and Manson area and to the east toNorlina and then south to Warrenton.

This backbone pipeline of the gas system will consist of about20 miles of steel and polyethylene pipe. From the backbone system,distribution pipelines will be constructed to deliver gas toresidential, commercial and industrial customers.

Permitting procedures and rights-of-way acquisition are underway. The first part of the system constructed this fall will be themainline to U.S. Highway 158 and west toward the Soul City andManson area. The pipeline to Norlina and Warrenton will beconstructed in the first half of 2000.

“As more customers want to receive natural gas and newfacilities are constructed, we will expand our distribution systemto reach more parts of the county,” said Joseph Rivera, FrontierEnergy president. “Our pipeline will be at or near three I-85exits, and we hope that we can serve new hotels, restaurants, andother facilities that may locate near those exits in the future.”

“We believe this is the largest start-up local distribution companyformed during the last 30 years in the United States,” Andrew Rea,Energy Pacific vice president of new business ventures said in January1998 when Energy Pacific and Frontier Utilities formed Frontier Energyto build the distribution system (see Daily GPI, Jan. 8, 1998). “Our research indicates thatcustomer acceptance of gas will be high-it will be extremelycompetitive with the fuels currently being used.”

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