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Woodbridge Officials Hot for Natural Gas Conversion

The town is working on a deal to convert town buildings – including Amity Regional High – to natural gas.

If all goes according to plan, several places of worship, and Woodbridge government buildings will be running on natural gas rather than oil by the fall.

A partnership with Southern Connecticut Gas (SCG) could save $361,000 in a year, split between town buildings, and the Amity Regional School District.

Dr. William Silberberg, a longtime Woodbridge resident who researched the natural gas industry, told First Selectman Edward Sheehy about the potential savings a year ago. Sheehy was receptive to the plan.

“The idea is that people have to think outside the box…in these difficult economic times,” Silberberg told Patch.

John Dobos, director of marketing and public affairs for SCG, said at Wednesday’s Board of Selectman meeting that natural gas prices are less volatile and substantially cheaper than oil. He did concede that “past performance does not guarantee future results.”

More than two miles and $1 million dollars worth piping would stretch between Amity Road to Rt. 114 Center Road and Beecher Road. Homes in the area would have the option to switch to natural gas, and representatives from SCG plan to gauge their interest.

While Woodbridge selectmen unanimously agreed to determine conversion costs and then move ahead to the contract negotiation phase, it’s not yet a done deal. Dobos said that in order for SCG to go ahead on the deal, places of worship along the road would have to sign up for natural gas in order to make the company’s investment worthwhile.

"That’s what makes it work: the big buildings and the town buildings. We have to have agreement that everybody is in on this,” Dobos said. “As the [New York] Giants say, we’re all in.”

He told the selectmen that he's already talked to representatives from the places of worship and he's confident a deal can be reached.

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