Residents wary about natural gas expansion
NEW CANAAN — There’s a new energy source coming to town.
Eversource Director of Gas Sales and Marketing David Allain talked about the upcoming expansion of the trunkline, an almost 5-mile gas pipeline that runs down Farm Road, up South Avenue and into Oak Street and Main Street, at an open house held at Saxe Middle School March 29.
“As some of you know, this project has had some ups and downs,” Allain said. “But we can finally say we are here to install natural gas in New Canaan in the coming weeks. This is going to be our signature project.”
Eversource plans to upgrade gas routes on Farm Road, South Avenue, Oak Street and Lakeview Avenue. The company will also be expanding into residential streets and branch off of South Avenue between Oak Street and Farm Road.
“The plan is to build in a pragmatic way, along the trunkline, based on demand and to lengthen this over time,” Allain said.
Town residents were given the option to sign up for natural gas service at the open house, but a majority were there to learn about what was going on.
The complete installment of the 4.7 mile trunkline that comes in from Old Stamford Road and through Farm Road, South Avenue, Oak Street and Main Street.
This phase will also consist of extensions to the trunkline in residential neighborhoods along South Avenue.
Roy Anderson and Wendell Maxby, both residents of Lockwood Avenue, attended the open house to talk to Eversource representatives.
“I want to hear more,” Maxby, who moved into town two years ago, said. “I’m a recent homeowner and I’m always checking out things. This event has been pretty helpful and I do want to keep informed.”
And while Anderson was more inclined to sign up that same night for natural gas, other residents were wary of committing so quickly to a new energy source.
Allison Reid, a Main Street resident, said she liked the idea of natural gas, as opposed to propane. “We have a propane fireplace and we have no idea how disruptive (natural gas) could be. Is it safe? What does it look like? What is the cost?”
The town had signed a $25 million plan with Eversource back in July of last year under then First Selectman Rob Mallozzi.
According to Allain, Eversource will be investing more than $50 million over the next six years in New Canaan. Allain said that the expansion of the trunkline would begin as soon as April 9 and no later than April 15.
In a letter addressed to residents written back in February, First Selectman Kevin Moynihan expressed his support for Eversource’s plans to expand in the town.
“Eversource’s gas expansion program is part of the state of Connecticut’s Comprehensive Energy Strategy, which is the 10-year plan to expand natural gas in the state,” Moynihan wrote.
Various “information stations” were set up along the perimeter of the cafeteria for residents to learn more about the construction process, financing options and even register for the utility, if they so desired.
There were around 120 people in the middle school cafeteria with some coming and leaving as the event continued until 9 p.m.