Unitil, (www.unitil.com), a provider of natural gas and electricity to customers in New England, has completed 2015 work on its System Upgrade for Reliable Energy (SURE) project in several Portland neighborhoods, including Washington Avenue, Allen Avenue, Deering Street, Spring Street and Temple Street. The Unitil SURE project, a 14-year initiative, is modernizing the Portland area's gas infrastructure, making it more reliable and better able to meet the growing demand for natural gas in Maine.
More than nine miles of gas main have been replaced or uprated to a higher pressure since the start of construction in April. This includes over 2,500 feet of new 8" gas main installed along Spring Street in conjunction with the City of Portland's street-scaping project. Also included is nearly 11,000 of new 8” gas main along Allen and Washington Ave in advance of a city paving project planned for 2016. Approximately 500 customers were upgraded during the course of construction.
"Unitil continues to make system reliability a priority for our customers –and improving infrastructure is key to our commitment to quality," said Matt Doughty, SURE project manager, Unitil. "We are grateful to the residents and businesses in the Portland area for their cooperation and understanding during this year's construction."
NEUCO, the contractor for Unitil’s SURE project, began replacement of gas mains and service lines throughout the Portland area in April of this year.
Work will continue in the spring of 2016 in Portland including Ocean Avenue, Stevens Avenue, Woodford Street, and several streets in the Downtown area. It is expected that 4.5 miles of main line will be replaced, 4.5 miles will be uprated and 550 customers will be upgraded.
Unitil was recently recognized by the American Gas Association for having best practices regarding its natural gas operations and the SURE project. Specifically, the AGA recognized Unitil for its effectiveness in aggressively replacing cast iron pipes in a cost effective manner, as well as the company’s ability to manage contractors working on its system.
“Our cost of replacement is in the top quartile nationally, meaning we are replacing the oldest pipes in our system at among the lowest cost to our customers,” Unitil Media Relations Manager Alec O’Meara said. “At the same time, we are getting this work done in a safe, efficient manner, assuring that the communities we serve will have a modernized infrastructure that will continue to meet the growing needs of the area.”
In five years, Unitil has completed approximately 40% of the 14-year long project. For the latest information about the SURE project and construction schedules, please visit www.ngupgrade.com or call Unitil’s toll-free hotline 1-866-821-4386.
Unitil is focused on the safety of its customers and encourages natural gas customers to be aware of steps they can take to keep their property and loved ones safe. For comprehensive safety information, including gas emergency tips, please visit www.unitil.com/gassafety.