Natural gas coming to Pictou County

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New Glasgow Mayor Barrie MacMillan speaks at an announcement about natural gas coming to Pictou County.

Businesses and families could soon have access to natural gas in Pictou County, making the area a better place to do business and more affordable to live and raise families.

"Our businesses, families, and others in the community understand the benefits of natural gas, and the province is pleased to work with Heritage Gas to deliver it," said Energy Minister Charlie Parker. "It will save millions of dollars in energy costs for large industrial employers, with savings around the corner for small businesses, hospitals, schools and family homes."

Heritage Gas is investing $15.3 million to extend its pipeline to Pictou County.

"We are proud to make this substantial investment in getting natural gas to Pictou County," said Jim Bracken, president of Heritage Gas. "Energy is a significant cost for industrial and commercial enterprises, so we are proud that we can help companies strengthen their competitiveness and position in the community. Northern Pulp's commitment as our first anchor customer was critical to making this project work.

"This is the first phase of the project and we look forward to working with the community to begin assessing feasibility of further expansion in 2014 and beyond."

The province is contributing $2.5 million to help with start up, which will be refunded as more businesses join.

"The chamber of commerce is truly excited and encouraged that natural gas will be coming to Pictou County," said Dave Freckelton, past-president, Pictou County Chamber of Commerce. "As we continue to plan for the economic future of this region, it is imperative we have energy sources that are cost effective and environmentally friendly. The announcement made today is a significant step in working towards an alternative for our members to consider."

As Heritage Gas builds the pipeline, Northern Pulp will convert its plant to natural gas as part of the company's plan to reduce its energy costs and improve air quality and environmental performance. The province will lend Northern Pulp $3.6 million and provide a capital equipment incentive of $900,000 to help it convert.

"The delivery of natural gas to Pictou County is good for business," said Pat Lee, CEO, Pictou County Health Authority.

"Our business is health care and we are continually seeking efficiencies and ways to save money. Natural gas will give us substantial annual savings, money that can be redirected to patient care."

Heritage Gas is submitting an application to the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board to expand into Pictou County. A separate application is being filed to establish a new rate for Northern Pulp.

Heritage Gas and Northern Pulp can terminate the agreement if the approvals are not granted

The first phase, to begin this spring, is to build a steel pipeline to Northern Pulp, on Abercrombie Point. That is expected to be finished by Dec. 1, with an extension to New Glasgow and Stellarton planned for 2014.

Natural gas burns cleaner than other fossil fuels, emitting 45 to 80 per cent less carbon dioxide than coal, and two-thirds that of oil, with negligible sulfur dioxides.

"Natural gas is an important part of the province's plan to move toward cleaner and more renewable energy sources, leading to lower, fairer electricity prices for Nova Scotians over the long term," said Mr. Parker.

Heritage Gas Limited is a Nova Scotia-based company formed to operate a full regulation natural gas distribution franchise in the province. In 2012 alone, Heritage Gas customers saved more than $77 million and reduced emissions by over 160,000 tonnes.

Heritage Gas reaches more than 20,000 households and businesses throughout Nova Scotia. It is owned by AltaGas Utility Group Inc., an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of AltaGas Limited.

Organizations: Pictou County Chamber of Commerce, Pictou County Health Authority, Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board AltaGas Utility Group Inc. AltaGas

Geographic location: Pictou County, Northern Pulp, Abercrombie Point New Glasgow Stellarton Nova Scotia

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Recent comments

  • About Time
    April 12, 2013 - 00:33

    Everyone of my friends In Toronto and surrounding areas heat their homes with natural gas and Are not frightened when they see their power bill. Admit It,We all shit, when we open our power bills!! Welcome Gas, Come on In!

  • Pictou County Resident
    April 08, 2013 - 11:39

    Nice too see the NDP government wasting more money on a dead beat mill, forgiving some loans and refinancing others, along with presenting them with more money. Then turning around and giving Heritage millions to run the gas line in. Our tax payer dollars going to unsustainable development, that's some sad, if these 2 private organizations can't run on their own coin why are we as residents of NS paying for them. They would be far better off to take the millions of dollars, close the mill and retire off the employees, then there would be no more continuous spending. Another option would be to use the money for residents to upgrade to more efficient heating equipment that utilizes the current utilities that are already available in Pictou County. Not bringing in another utility that for one can't sustain itself and for two continues to rise in price according to articles coming out of Halifax stating outrageous increases in cost. With Sable supposedly running low on gas, the price will only go up when gas have to come from other areas of the country or the states. Time for this government to stop wasting our money!!

  • Good god
    April 08, 2013 - 10:15

    well get ready for some damn good explosions! with the brains around here, they'll be blowing themselves up before you know it..time to move

  • Gasman
    April 07, 2013 - 16:21

    Heritage Gas is investing $15.3 million to extend its pipeline to Pictou County. Let make something perfectly clear News . Heritage is not extending a pipeline to Pictou County the Pipeline is all over Pictou County and there would have been no Gaslines in HRM without the lateral line in 2000. IF indeed the brueaucrats in Halifax had brains they would have left the second largest Gas distributor in the world , Sempra Gas, to conduct their business plan for Nova Scotia which would have included doing Pictou County back in 2005. Instead we traded a world player for Alta Gas of Alberta and for what ? So the Provincial government could weaken our businesses ?

  • EdmundGerber
    April 07, 2013 - 12:10

    Hurry up and close that damn eyesore once and for all.

  • raymond
    April 06, 2013 - 14:25

    You guys will cry about anything! You have no idea how to look at the big picture which doest help your situations at all. I am on gas heating! Max bill is 90 a month when I lived there I could have been paying 400 a month for heat. Now what do you think will happen to the money saved? It should go to the new furnance right considering when you guys sell the homes you get to brag about an up to date firnance. But no you want everything for free and don't really care about change because than you have nothing to complain about! There would in turn be gas fitting jobs added didn't think about that! Someone has to run the pipes they don't lay them selves! These people have to eat and sleep. In your community's. Embrace the change prepare get the right tickets go back to work and stop complianing because it really bothers other people who have already excepted it.

  • GMF
    April 06, 2013 - 11:26

    Natural Gas coming to the county? Is that a Rock Band? The pipe line was run through Pictou County almost 20 years ago. Shame on every government official from every party and every level for not demanding it be made available before now. No wonder Nova Scotia is in the state it is.

  • Wondering
    April 05, 2013 - 21:00

    A pipeline to Pictou County? And apparently Sable Island gas will run out in 5 to 10 years. Why go to the expense of converting to gas.

  • taxpayer
    April 05, 2013 - 17:46

    i see the nova scotia power wasn't mentioned are they going to get the natural gas to?? so it will stop all the fly ash falling on our homes here if its not I hope there is an election real soon the ndp won't be getting my vote be lot more them me to get rid of the ndp

  • judy p
    April 05, 2013 - 17:39

    and not let us to forget michelin tire. im so afrade for my children and my childrens what is going to be left for them.the mill and michelin should not be given any kind of taxpayers hard earned money .natural gas is not cheap by any means

  • Won't Vote For Them
    April 05, 2013 - 16:45

    Come on Charlie. Tell us what we want to hear. When are you guys going to call an election?

  • steve cameron
    April 05, 2013 - 15:53

    this all sounds great but it sure would be nice to see the trenton power plant on natural gas instead of coal i think this would really benefit our area health wise

  • Sempra GAS
    April 05, 2013 - 14:51

    gee how to get to one of the Key Industrial areas of the Province Finally . Sempra Gas , a fortune 500 company, dropped their plans to provide Pictou County with NG by 2005 because the the utter ignorance of Bureaucrats in Nova Scotia that drove the second largest Gas Distributor in the World. I actually wonder if this move is indeed too late for Nova Forge and Maritime Steel which used Propane at a much higher cost.

  • Shane MacMillan
    April 05, 2013 - 14:48

    Good to see PC taking a step in the right direction. Anytime we can reduce our greenhouse gas emissions it is the right thing to do. Perhaps in 10 or 15 years, with more diversified sources of energy we can loosen the grip of oil and have cheaper power and a cleaner planet. Perhaps we can leave the next generation in a better position than the children of the 50's and 60's left my generation (choking on fly-ash and complaining to no one in particular).

  • Dusty
    April 05, 2013 - 12:47

    More help for northern pulp what about maritime steel this government is a joke.

  • bg wall
    April 05, 2013 - 12:20

    there must be a ndp reporter telling this story, if you go to the chronicle herald page nothing is going to start till 2014 & longer

  • Jane Thomson
    April 05, 2013 - 11:58

    And of course the provincial government is going to give us all millions more to convert our systems, just like they're doing for Northern Pulp, right? ...oops, they have to balance the budget, having spent all their allowance on loans to the Mill, for this and for things like that $75 million that was supposed to reduce that stench...we know how well THAT'S worked out.

  • JMac
    April 05, 2013 - 11:47

    This is ridiculous. Nothing is going to lower our power rates other than a thorough investigation into the (unfair) business practices of the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board. If you visit their website, you'll learn that all the members on that board are former employees of NSP. Yay that Pictou County is finally getting access to resources that other provinces and counties have had for years and years. But Boo at the fact that with our 12.8% unemployment rate here (from StatsCan), these "savings" aren't going to affect any family's or individual's bottom line.