Intermountain Gas Co. has filed a five-year growth plan with the Idaho Public Utilities Commission for its retail natural gas service to more than 275,000 customers in the southern part of the state, serving the load through three major laterals off the Williams’ Northwest Pipeline that traverses this part of Idaho, roughly following the Snake River. Pipeline constraints in all of its major service areas are contemplated next year through 2009.

All three of Intermountain’s major pipeline laterals are projected to be reaching their peak capacities in 2007 and 2009, respectively, Intermountain told the PUC it added 446 miles of distribution and service pipelines last year to its more than 10,000 miles of transmission distribution and service pipelines. Comments on the gas utility’s five-year growth plan are being accepted by the PUC through Aug. 30, according to the regulatory commission.

Intermountain’s plan anticipates continued looping of parts of its pipeline system to add capacity on its Idaho Falls and Sun Valley pipeline laterals tied to Northwest’s interstate pipeline system. Next year on the Idaho Falls lateral, the utility “plans to ask its industrial customers that have the potential to cut their peak consumption by switching to fuel oil during extreme old temperatures,” a PUC spokesperson said.

On the Sun Valley lateral, “future upgrades” will be needed, according to the utility’s plan.

A third major pipeline lateral in Canyon County will hit some capacity limits next year, too, the utility told the PUC, but in that area, industrial customers do not have an alternative fuel option. Therefore, the regulatory commission said the company is “exploring optional means of enhancing distribution capability” throughout the region.

The PUC can accept the utility’s five-year plan without pre-judging individual projects, which will require separate review and action by the state regulators. A full copy of Intermountain’s plan can be found on the PUC website ( under “File Room” and then “Gas Cases.”

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