Maine’s Bureau of General Services (BGS) has selected Maine Natural Gas (MNG) to deliver natural gas to 19 of its 25 facilities in the state’s capital for the next decade, the company said. The facilities consume more than 87% of the gas used by the state in Augusta. The award decision is subject to final approval by the State Procurement Review Committee. MNG said it expects to begin contract discussions with BGS “immediately” since the state plans to begin receiving gas at some Augusta facilities by Nov. 1. MNG in March signed a contract with three companies to begin building the 12-inch diameter steel pipeline backbone of its Augusta gas distribution system (see Daily GPI, March 11). The 21.4-mile Augusta backbone pipeline is 99% completed and is expected to be ready to start gas delivery to its first Augusta customers by the end of this month, MNG said. MNG and Summit Natural Gas of Maine have been racing to bring natural gas to the area for some time. Summit on Tuesday said it has signed agreements with Inland Hospital and Redington-Fairview Hospital to supply those central Maine facilities with natural gas line and utility service.

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will convene a hearing Tuesday (Sept. 17) to consider three nominations: former Colorado regulator Ron Binz to be commissioner on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Elizabeth M. Robinson to be under secretary of the Department of Energy, and Michael L. Connor to be deputy secretary of the Department of Energy. If confirmed by the Senate, Binz will succeed Jon Wellinghoff, who has been FERC chairman since March 2009. President Obama tapped Binz for chairman of FERC in late June (seeDaily GPI, July 1). Binz, a renewable energy and consumer advocate, resigned from the Colorado Public Utilities Commission in 2011 under pressure from mining interests and Republican state legislators. He currently is principal at Public Policy Consulting in Denver and a policy adviser for the Center for the New Energy Economy at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. The confirmation hearing will be held in room SD-366 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building and will be webcast on the committee’s website at Written testimony will be available at the start of the hearing.