A few more details concerning the moratorium on new gas lines…
National Grid provides natural gas service to approximately 100,000 businesses and residences on Cape Cod. Following a recent inspection, the company made the decision to lower the pressure in a 21-mile stretch of natural gas main, as well as perform infrastructure upgrades to maintain the reliability and safety of the system. While the gas main is safe, some of its welds and other equipment no longer meet current standards for operating at a high pressure. Therefore, the company lowered the pressure in the main from a 200 pound maximum to a 125 pound maximum. This puts less stress on infrastructure, but it also reduces the natural gas capacity.
What does this mean?
To accommodate the reduced amount of gas distributed and to meet the needs of their current customers so they can continue receiving reliable gas service, National Grid is making changes to availability of new gas service and upgrades to existing gas service in the Mid and Lower Cape towns.
As a result, National Grid will not be able to connect new customers to our natural gas system in certain areas in the mid- to lower- Cape Cod, including the communities of Dennis, Harwich, Brewster, Chatham, Orleans, Eastham and possibly Barnstable and Yarmouth.
Barnstable and Yarmouth
Properties in Barnstable and Yarmouth could still be eligible for new service, conversions or an upgrade in service, but they must go through a review process to see if the system can handle it. Currently that review process could take from 4 to 6 weeks, although National Grid says they hope to shorten that review period to closer to one week.
How does this impact REALTORS® and their clients?
Those selling or buying properties in Barnstable and Yarmouth who may want to covert to natural gas or upgrade their existing gas meter should urge buyers to contact National Grid to get answers as to natural gas availability and should not assume because gas is on the street that it can be connected. Buyers or sellers can contact National Grid’s Kerrie Doyle at 781.907.2201 to begin the process of determining natural gas availability.
Dennis through Eastham
A moratorium on new gas connections, conversions, and upgrades is currently in effect. There is no definitive date on when the moratorium will be lifted.
Those selling and buying properties from Dennis to Eastham need to be aware that new, converted or expanded gas service is unavailable now and there is no promise of when a gas hook up could take place or when service could be added. National Grid has estimated it could take 5 to 7 years.
What is National Grid’s solution?
National Grid has said they are starting the process to replace the line to handle the 200 pound capacity. That process could take 5 to 7 years depending upon engineering, permitting, and construction. The Cape Cod Commission, who was also in attendance at the stakeholder meeting, is committed to doing everything in their power to expedite and run concurrent approval processes with the state and local government, in an effort to have bureaucratic delays minimized.
Will everything remain the same until the line is replaced?
National Grid says they will reevaluate capacity every year and make necessary adjustments to ensure the safety of the line and the reliability of natural gas to existing customers.”
What if a property has existing gas service, but during a renovation/tear down, capped off the line for construction?
National Grid said those properties are accounted for in their model and will be able to go back to the existing level of gas service, but contact National Grid to confirm your property was included in their model
How about those with applications in for new gas service, an upgrade, or a conversion?
All applications that were received by October 1, 2014 will be honored, according to National Grid at the meeting. They said there were approximately 600 submitted.
*Information taken from CCIAOR newsletter and gathered from various sources and documents from National Grid. All information should be verified with National Grid.
It looks like new gas hookups for certain areas of Cape Cod could be on hold until 2019! Apparently a main line in the mid and lower Cape area was recently inspected by National Grid and some of the equipment was found to not meet current standards.
National Grid has stated that the line itself is not a safety concern but that the outdated equipment needs to be replaced. Also as a result they have reduced the pressure in the main line from 20 pounds per square inch to 125 pounds per square inch. Reports by National Grid is that they have 4 inch pipe where they thought they had 6 inch.
Apparently this will not affect the performance of heating systems or other gas powered appliances. The towns affected by this moratorium are Yarmouth, Dennis, Harwich, Brewster, Chatham, Orleans, Eastham and even certain parts of Barnstable. If a request has already been submitted and approved for a gas hook up they will honor those requests. It sounds like many of the town municipalities did not even know this was “coming down the pipe” and only just heard about it.
I find it hard to believe that National Grid will hold up the process until 2019. Gas has been the fuel of choice for conversions and new construction across Cape Cod (if the lines are available). If this is going to significantly affect their balance sheet they will complete the project as soon as they can is my guess.
We will keep you updated as more information is released by NSTAR.
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