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Northern Utilities Plans Maine Expansion
Bay State Gas subsidiary Northern Utilities announced plans forgas distribution service in communities along the coastal corridornorth of Portland, ME. Communities to be served include Bath,Brunswick, Topsham, Freeport, Yarmouth, and Falmouth, as well asthe towns of Sanford, and Kittery in York County. The area iscontiguous to Northern’s existing service territory, and gas ratesin expansion areas will mirror those of Northern’s existing Mainecustomers, the company said.
“Northern Utilities brought natural gas to Maine many years agoand has had a strong track record ever since in growing ourbusiness and making natural gas available to as many consumers aspossible,” said James D. Simpson, Bay State senior vice president.Northern has approval from the Maine Public Utilities Commission(MPUC) to serve customers in all of the announced markets andexpects to begin construction later this year. Additional gassupplies will come from the Portland Natural Gas TransmissionSystem (PNGTS), which recently began construction. Bay State is anequity partner in PNGTS.
Northern is in competition with Central Maine Power Co. (CMP)and New York State Electric & Gas (NYSEG) to serve part of itsexpansion area, mainly the Bath and Brunswick areas, said Northernspokesman John Flumerfelt. Bangor Gas, which was recently grantedMPUC approval to serve the Bangor area, is not a competitor toNorthern, he said. Flumerfelt said Northern has franchise rightsfor virtually the entire state except for the Bangor area. He saidthe company expects CMP and NYSEG to be granted franchise rights”for certain parts of the state but not others.” CMP and NYSEG havereceived preliminary approval from the MPUC for their jointventure, CMP Natural, to serve 60 Maine communities (See Daily GPIMarch 20, 1998).
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