March 12, 2013

Editorial: Natural-gas possibilities

Alternative-energy opportunities, especially natural gas, are growing, propelled by local, state and federal initiatives. It would be wise for local residents to explore these options, which could reduce household costs.

As part of a New York Energy Highway initiative, Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants the Public Service Commission to expand opportunities for natural-gas service across the state. And President Obama focused on alternative energy in his inaugural address, which bears promise for future funding.

Here in the North Country, wind-energy projects are already established, and natural gas is stretching its way into more communities. Franklin County will soon have natural-gas service as Enbridge St. Lawrence Gas builds a 48-mile pipeline between Norfolk and Chateaugay.

The Town of Plattsburgh has led the way in pressing New York State Electric and Gas to increase natural-gas service to more areas of that community. Natural gas is already hooked up in some businesses and homes in Plattsburgh, and town officials want to see it available to more residences.

The Cumberland Head Taxpayers Association, sometimes at odds with town officials on matters of money, is also on board with the idea of expanding natural gas.

NYSEG is surveying potential customers, and meetings are being held to answer questions about the new option. Residents can find out more at 1 p.m. Wednesday at the new Fire Station on Cumberland Head.

It’s important that people who want this option show their support. Town Deputy Supervisor Martin Mannix says that having a strong supply of customers is essential to securing service.

The savings could be substantial. Some Cumberland Head residents tell us they spend $3,000, $3,500, even $4,000 a year on fuel oil for heating. And they enviously listen to residents in Cliff Haven, another section of the town, who say they are paying $60 or $70 a month for natural gas.

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