November 13th, 2012 7:28 AM by Mike and Susie Berra
LAKE OF THE OZARKS, Mo. -- Summit Natural Gas had installed nearly 30,000 feet of pipeline. If the weather cooperates and all goes as planned, service will be available in much of the Lake area by the start of the 2013 heating season, according to Annica Russo, public relations specialist for Summit. Previously the company estimated the service lines complete by late 2014.
She said Summit’s contractors are currently laying pipe along Highway 5 in Gravois Mills, Laurie and Sunrise Beach on the west side and along Bagnell Dam Boulevard and on Horseshoe Bend on the east side. Crews planned to be in Camdenton by the end of October. Next, they’ll continue to Linn Creek and Osage Beach, as well as points north, south, east and west to reach most of Miller, Camden and Morgan counties.
“We’ve actually been able to move along a lot more quickly than originally thought. People comment on the rock here but this is nothing new to us,” Russo said, adding that the steel pipe bringing natural gas to the Lake area from Lincoln was about 50 percent complete.
Once installed, customers that are within 300 feet of service lines can be connected at no charge – and in most cases, Summit Natural Gas will convert propane appliances, also at no charge. For those that have all-electric homes, Summit also will be offering rebates on select appliances like furnaces, ranges and hot water heaters to help with the costs of switching over. However, Russo said they won’t be selling garage fill stations for CNG-powered vehicles. “A lot of people have asked about that but so far, that’s not in our plan.”
Earlier this year the Department of Energy announced they would make $30 million available for new research on tapping into domestic natural gas supplies to power vehicles and Shell Oil Company announced it would partner with Travel Centers of America to build and operate 200 natural gas filling stations along interstate highways throughout the Midwest.
Summit, which currently serves more than 11,000 customers in portions of Northwestern, Southwestern, and Central Missouri, decided to make the move to the Lake because of the positive response received to a 10,000-postcard survey conducted in 2009. According to Summit officials, 15 to 20 percent of the cards came back with all but a few saying they would be interested in hooking up to the service if it became available. Company officials then obtained franchise agreements with municipalities that allow Summit to run its lines through easements. In return, 3 percent of all gas bills will be given to the municipalities and counties in unincorporated areas.