Darien a step closer to natural gas
Updated 10:41 pm, Saturday, April 2, 2016
DARIEN — Digging might begin on more than 18,700 feet of natural gas lines in Darien as early as summer.
Eversource Project Manager Chris Luca and Director of Public Works Ed Gentile outlined the proposed project to the Board of Selectmen on March 21. The effort is guided by a project development agreement drafted by Eversource and reviewed and negotiated by Gentile and Town Counsel Wayne Fox.
The board approved the proposal unanimously.
Luca said Eversource is working with the town and local developers to make the $4.2 million project possible without asking for aid from the town government.
“One of the things we’re striving for in this project is no contribution. So no cost to the town for any of the construction. In this case we were able to get there,” Luca said. “We’re looking at about $80,000 estimated fuel savings. This does not include the private developers we’re working with as well. This is strictly the town’s savings.”
Natural gas generally is cleaner, safer, requires less maintenance and, in recent years, has been less costly than alternative energy sources.
“The thought was to bring natural gas throughout a large portion of Darien,” Luca said.
Developers of the Noroton Heights Shopping Center, the Federal Realty Proposal and Baywater Properties have also partnered with Eversource and are scheduled, tentatively, to start using natural gas in the spring of 2017.
A list of streets involved has not been released, but might be this month, Luca told The Darien News.
Luca wants to begin digging over the summer, when the roads aren’t as busy and schools are not in session, citing a successful natural gas expansion project led by Eversource in Wilton in which work around schools was completed before the beginning of the new school year.
“Obviously we’re going to be digging up your roads. But we want to make sure we’re in, we’re out, and we leave it in the best condition as possible,” said Luca.
Eversource expects 225 customers initially, but hopes to host a public forum prior to digging to answer any questions.
“We like to say about 10 percent of people along the route will come forward before the project starts and start having conversations with us,” Luca said. “A large chunk comes in after that, when the shovel’s in the ground.”
The project will now pass to the Planning and Zoning Commission for final approval.