by Mickey Smith
NG Advantage, LLC, of Milton, is trying to bring natural gas to Vermont. To be fair, a transmission line from Canada already brings natural gas into Vermont, but NG Advantage is the first company to truck the lower priced fuel to sites outside of Franklin and Chittenden counties.
Neale Lunderville, chief executive officer for NG, said currently natural gas is available in 17 towns, but plans are to expand the pipeline down Route 7 to Vergennes and Middlebury. NG is looking for commercial, industrial and institutional sites that consume over 100,000 gallons of fuel oil or propane per year. Depending on the amount used and the distance from one of NG’s compression centers, natural gas could result in a 20 to 40% cost savings. Lunderville said people using #2 or #6 heating oil would see the largest savings, while the savings from propane is closer to the 20% range. He said the volume is not there for this to be viable for smaller businesses or residential uses in the state.
Lunderville said they currently have two customers already on board in Pike Industries and Putney Paper, but they are looking for more and would welcome talking to any businesses in Lamoille County that use large volumes of oil or propane.
For the bigger businesses, he said, higher oil/propane costs put Vermont businesses at a competitive disadvantage with areas where natural gas is readily available. Plus he noted, there are national/regional businesses with multiple facilities where the Vermont-based facility could be the only one without natural gas as an option – making it more expensive to do business in Vermont.
As the first such company in Vermont of its kind, Lunderville said along with looking for customers there is work going on about setting up the details for such a business. He said they are lobbying, and it appears to be headed in their direction, to make a business like theirs similar to a fuel oil/propane provider. He said there is some question if they are a “utility,” but based on preliminary judgments it looks like they will not be regulated like a utility.
For more information about natural gas, and to find out if your company can benefit from NG Advantage’s natural gas service, check out their website, www.ngadvantage.com.