Tidewater Farm 
Homeowners Association



January 23, 2014

Presenter is Aaron Dodge, Manager, Residential marketing, Summit Natural Gas, Augusta ME,  tel. 621-8000 ext. 430, ADodge@SummitNaturalGas.com, www.SummitNaturalGasMaine.

Summit Natural Gas started in 1994 in Colorado, then moved to Missouri. Summit is now in Kennebec Valley (Augusta/Waterville). Summit will be “building out” in Falmouth, Cumberland, and Yarmouth this summer. They will be laying high-density polyethylene pipe which lasts 100 years. This summer 6 to 8 crews from Summit will dig up the roads. They will install 8-inch pipe down Route One and Route 88. Off of that, a 2-inch pipe will come into Tidewater. Then a half-inch pipe will run from the street to individual houses. This half-inch pipe will be free for us. Homeowners will pay for piping from the meter, outside the house, to the boiler, inside the house.

Propane boilers will need new nozzles, which cost $300 to $500.  Gas fireplaces will need new nozzles which cost $25 to $50. Summit puts an odorant called “mercaptin” into natural gas which will alert homeowners in case of leaks. Natural gas is lighter than air, so it rises rather than gathering in the basement. 67% of US homes use natural gas. Natural gas burns at 95% efficiency. There is not much boiler maintenance. Savings over propane will be 25%.

Incentives – see the Summit “Conversion Incentive Rebate Program” sheet for a complete listing. This is done in conjunction with Efficiency Maine, to make homes more energy-efficient and therefore need less fuel to stay warm. Every home can get a free energy audit, including a blower door test. Every home can also receive 12-man-hours of plugging leaks and insulating around joists, chimneys, at attics to R49, which is current code. This will save at least 10% of heating costs. There are also rebates on gas appliances; see the complete incentive sheet for details.

For billing, see Summit “Rates and Tariff.” Basically, the bill has 3 components:

Cost of gas, at            $.747 per therm, at the current market rate

Distribution cost at   $.850 per therm, this is a fixed cost

Monthly charge         $ 20 per month, this is a fixed cost.

The total cost will not change much over the next 10 years, maybe 2% or 3%.

About the pipes. Gas lines run 3 feet underground. Engineers must decide the routes. Sidewalks and streets may be torn up. Summit will resurface them. Summit will ask the association and others who own roads for easements to run lines under their streets. Summit will ask homeowners for easements to run lines under their lawns. If homeowners can let Summit know where their pipes are for water, propane, and irrigation, that would be helpful; if not, Summit will figure it out. Summit drills using a “vertical bore,” which goes straight underground and then runs along like a mole parallel to the surface.


Q: What is the timeline?

A: By November 2014, Tidewater homeowners can have natural gas.

Q: Did you deliver services on schedule in the Kennebec Valley?

A: No, we were 2 months late. But it wasn’t our fault.

Q: Are you delivering natural gas in Maine now?

A: Yes.

Q: Where are you going to deliver around here?

A: Princeton Pines (Foreside Estates), the wastewater treatment plant, and the physical therapy building at the end of Clearwater Drive.

Q: Where will our gas come from?

A: Nova Scotia. None of it will be extracted by fracking.

Q: When will Tidewater be connected? What is the process?

A: First the association has to give Summit permission to send in engineers to look at possible routes. Then the engineers come.  For example, engineers are coming to Princeton Pines (Foreside Estates) in three weeks. The Tidewater Board could invite them to come here at the same time. The Board is going to meet right away to consider this.

Second, Association would give Summit permission to contact homeowners, and give them people’s contact info. Summit then contacts individual homeowners, going door-to-door, sending e-mail, or telephoning. Summit will let homeowners know ahead of time that their teams will be in the neighborhood.

Third, individual homeowners decide whether or not they want to connect to natural gas. Summit estimates that 70 percent will say yes. This is enough to run lines into the neighborhood. If people say yes, they have 30 days to change their minds. If people say no the first time, they can still connect later on. The same rebates will apply.

Step 4, Homeowners and Summit will talk at the home.   The homeowner helps decide where to locate the gas meter on the side of the house. For example, it has to be a certain distance from windows.

Then the homeowner contacts a furnace company to come install new nozzles on their home appliances. Summit will supply a list of 30 companies which have licensed, certified technicians to convert boilers and appliances, and then come service them afterwards. One licensed technician can do 6 to 8 homes in one day, so there will be no shortage of technicians.

After the nozzles are installed the technician and Summit rep come simultaneously. Summit signs off on the paperwork and turns on the gas.

All this will take until fall.

Q: What about my propane tank?

A: That is up to the homeowner and whoever owns the tank. If you are renting it, you may be locked into a 3-year contract with the propane supplier. After that, you are free to ask them to come remove it without penalty. If you own the tank, you can keep it, or sell it back to the propane supply company. One family is going to keep their gas fireplace on propane, for emergencies, and convert the furnace to natural gas.  The propane supplier will pump out the tank if you request it and buy back any leftover propane, it’s the law.

Q: Where is my propane tank?

A: Right under the dome where it is filled. The propane supplier who put it in, that’s Dead River here at Tidewater,  knows which way it is buried underground.

Q: I was in North Carolina recently, and there was a big natural gas explosion there. Could that happen here?

A: No. That was an old system. We have redundant pipes now. We have shut-offs. We will have 4 to 6 reg stations in the combined towns of Yarmouth, Cumberland, and Falmouth.

Q: How much unaccountable gas (leaks) do you anticipate?

A: None. The old cast iron systems had cracks. The Unitil pipes which are leaking in Portland are 110 years old. The new pipes are tight. They go through days of extensive testing before the first gas is piped in.

Q: Who is our local sales representative? Who do we call?

A: Gary Hurturbise, 621-8000 x 434, GHurtubise@SummitNaturalGas.com.

Q: What is your website?

A: www.SummitNaturalGasMaine.com

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