Last year, we asked Is Natural Gas Right for Your Home? Since then, we've seen all City of Augusta municipal buildings and the new Alfond Center for Health take advantage of the newly-laid pipelines. But how are the residents of Central Maine fairing with this less-costly, more-efficient oil alternative?
Of the four companies authorized by the Maine Public Utilities Commission to distribute natural gas in Maine, there are really only two players that pertain to the residents of Kennebec Valley. Maine Natural Gas, headquartered in Brunswick, ME and owned by Iberdrola SA of Spain and Summit Natural Gas, part of Summit Utilities in Colorado.
The good news for those of you living in Maine's capital, is that you have a choice of which of these two companies to go with. Maine Natural Gas' service footprint is the city of Augusta, with some inclusion of surrounding towns either in progress or in the planning stages.
Summit Natural Gas is based in Augusta and currently includes Augusta, Fairfield, Farmingdale, Gardiner, Hallowell, Madison and Waterville in their service area. Albion, Belgrade, China, Norridgewock, Oakland, Richmond, Sidney, Skowhegan, Windsor and Winslow are all in progress or will be added soon.
While the cost of natural gas is historically lower, demand can drive up the price, sometimes even close to that of heating oil. Market competition will help keep the cost down if you are lucky enough to live in an area that allows you a choice in natural gas companies. The State's Home Heating Calculator can give you an estimate of the savings you can expect with natural gas. Both companies offer incentives to switch over to natural gas, as well as payment plans to help control price fluctuations and even out payments across an entire year.
You can request service at the following:
- Maine Natural Gas - http://mainenaturalgas.com/become-a-customer/new-installation/
- Summit Natural Gas http://summitnaturalgasmaine.com/request-service-my-area
- Maine Public Utilities Commission: http://www.maine.gov/mpuc/natural_gas/distributors.html
- Mainebiz: http://www.mainebiz.biz/article/20131025/NEWS0101/131029965