National Grid is freezing out property owners in a number of Cape Cod towns who want to hook up to natural gas for heating. The utility has placed a moratorium on new hookups that could last until 2019—2019!—The Cape Cod Times reports.
New hookups are off-limits in Brewster, Dennis, Eastham, Harwich, Chatham, and parts of Yarmouth and Barnstable. The reason: National Grid is lowering the pressure in a stretch of pipeline after finding that the equipment was not up to snuff. (Yikes—though National Grid told the Times that dialing back the pressure is precautionary, and that safety isn’t an issue.)
“We want to resume connecting new customers as soon as possible, but enhancing our infrastructure will definitely be an extensive, multi-year project,’’ National Grid spokesperson Jake Navarro told Boston.com in an emailed statement.
Navarro recommended that property owners at new homes or buildings who may wish to eventually switch to natural gas once the moratorium ends (which, given its expected length, would require a little bit of long-term planning) use propane as a heating source, “because the costs to convert from propane tend to be lower than the costs to convert from heating oil.’’
Existing customers won’t see an interruption to their services, National Grid told The Times, nor will the moratorium have an effect on heating prices, the company says. National Grid met Tuesday with Cape officials, who expressed concerns about the effect on small businesses and development.