Frontier Energy, North Carolina’s newest gas utility, beganflowing gas in Surry, Wilkes and Yadkin counties. “With more than50 miles of newly installed gas main pressurized, we’re officiallyup and running,” said Andrew Rea, chairman of Frontier Energy. “Injust eight months, we were able to complete the first phase of oursystem and start serving customers.”

Frontier Energy is a partnership between Sempra Energy UtilityVentures and Frontier Utilities of North Carolina, which isprincipally owned by ARB Inc. of Lake Forest, CA. Other partnersinclude Industrial Gas Services Inc. of Wheat Ridge, CO, andPipeline Solutions Inc., with headquarters in Glenwood Springs, CO.Ground was broken on the North Carolina system in April. Thetransmission portion of the system is expected to take two years tocomplete, with the majority of the distribution system beingbuilt-out over five years. Frontier Energy’s first customer isWayne Farms.

With certificates to deliver gas to seven counties FrontierEnergy plans to hook up as many customers as possible before theend of the year. “To date, 80 miles of gas system pipeline has beeninstalled,” said Joe Rivera, vice president of operations forSempra Energy Utility Ventures. “When completed, more than 170miles of steel transmission pipe and 730 miles of plasticdistribution pipe will be in operation. Our $55 million natural gasdelivery system, which we believe to be the largest new start-upgas utility in the United States in the past 30 years, willeventually serve approximately 150,000 customers in the state.”

In January Energy Pacific and Frontier Utilities formed FrontierEnergy to build the system. The announcement followed one inOctober of a joint venture between Energy Pacific and Bangor Hydroto provide distribution service to greater Bangor, ME. FrontierEnergy interconnects with the Transcontinental Gas Pipeline(Transco) near Salisbury, NC.

Joe Fisher, Houston

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