The New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) has approved a utility’s request to expand natural gas service to the Town of Plattsburgh and directed the company to begin construction this year, with an expected completion date of 2017.

On July 29, the PSC issued an order amending the certificate of public convenience and necessity (CPCN) for Plattsburgh as requested by New York State Electric and Gas Corp. (NYSEG), a unit of Iberdrola USA, itself a subsidiary of Iberdrola SA [Case No. 12-G-0499]. The order grants a town-wide CPCN and adopts a 10-year development period for the expansion of gas service.

“The commission is granting a town-wide CPCN to simplify the continued expansion of gas service,” the PSC said in its order. “However, NYSEG will still be required to obtain the necessary review and approval, from the pertinent federal, state and local authorities whenever construction of gas extensions actually occurs.

“A 10-year development period is appropriate in this case given the current price of natural gas as compared to alternative fuels and the density of potential customers in the economic footprint. Further, a 10-year period will reduce monthly billing impacts for customers.”

According to documents filed with the PSC, NYSEG first petitioned the commission for permission to extend gas service to Plattsburgh in November 2012. A survey conducted by the company found more than 900 customers interested in converting to natural gas. The company intends to run two- and four-inch diameter pipelines for the project.

The PSC’s order stipulates that NYSEG begin construction and offer service to a backlog of customers who reside within the limits of a CPCN established in 1997. The company will then be allowed to expand to serve customers within the new CPCN footprint who have already requested service and who reside along existing gas mains. Construction for these two sets of customers is to be completed in 2014.

NYSEG will be allowed to begin construction into the Cumberland Head Peninsula area in 2015. Other densely populated areas within the town will be offered service by 2017.

According to the PSC, the average residential customer will save approximately $2,000 a year in fuel costs if converting from oil or propane to natural gas.