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Natural Gas 'Is Truly Coming' to Woodbridge this Fall

Fuel savings will be around 50 percent for public buildings, officials say.

Rumors of the natural gas pipeline inching its way into Woodbridge are no longer just a happy “pipe” dream. Town Administrator Joe Hellauer, the one-man committee currently negotiating with Southern Connecticut Gas and United Illuminating, said, “It is truly coming.” Along with the gas line, town officials expect to reap huge savings on their energy bills.

According to Hellauer, the gas line currently reaches the on Amity Road.

“They will extend it and bring it up Center Road,” Hellauer said, “and will be their first customer.”

SCG estimates the pipeline will reach the high school by August or the beginning of September. The next phase will bring the line to the old firehouse, followed by the new firehouse, the Center Building, which would include the Woodbridge Police Department, and then town hall. Eventually, Hellauer said, Beecher Road School will be added.

Private customers expected to sign on for natural gas are on Center Road and B’nai Jacob on Rimmon Road.

“We expect to have most of this done during the 2012/13 year,” he said. “The rest should be finished by the end of 2013/14.”

Currently the town is investigating how much it will cost to convert their oil-burning facilities to gas. The estimate for the high school alone is about $120,000, but according to Facilities Manager Jim Saisa, it’s a win-win situation.

“I’m meeting with the gas company on Tuesday to find out what incentives are available to help with the conversions,” Saisa said. “A portion of it will be reimbursed.”

What is not reimbursed should be quickly recouped in the first year through savings on fuel bills. According to Saisa, it requires 7.14 gallons of fuel oil to produce one million BTUs. Even with fuel at only $3 a gallon, that adds up to $21.42 per million BTUS. With SCG, the larger customers pay only $11 to generate a million BTUs, a savings of about 50 percent.

“It’s a super project and one that I’m excited about,” Hellauer said. “It’s going to save us a lot of money.”

The energy company’s team will present their proposal to the at their regular meeting on Feb. 8.

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