But they can already tell that it’s making a big difference.
“The house is warmer with new, clean and efficient natural gas,” said Debbie. “It’s too early to tell how we’ll fare when the real winter weather comes, but bring it on.”
The couple, the first residential customers of Heritage Gas’s expansion into Stellarton and New Glasgow, was present to welcome the natural gas company’s first small business customer at Anchor Motors on Thursday.
Around 30 people, including mayors, municipal representatives and members of the business community, were present as Heritage Gas announced that the pipeline is active and that homes and businesses now have the opportunity to sign on.
“We are pleased to be a partner with Heritage Gas through our choice of natural gas for our new dealership,” said Marc Comeau, owner of Anchor Motors. “We’re making the right choice for the environment.”
After deciding to move Anchor Motors to a new and larger location in the Albion Business Park, Comeau faced a decision on how to best address the building’s energy needs.
“At the former location, we burned the waste oil,” said Comeau. “We weren't sure that would be viable in this location so we looked at the natural gas option.”
Pictou County’s large industries were Heritage Gas’s first and anchor customers. Since those businesses came online, Heritage has been expanding into Stellarton and New Glasgow, seeking additional homes and businesses looking to make the switch.
Heritage Gas representative Chris Smith noted that by every environmental measure, natural gas is a cleaner, more sustainable choice.
“Thank you Marc, for choosing Heritage Gas, and for making natural gas your energy choice,” he said. “Anchor Motors is among a growing group of customers, homeowners, small businesses and large institutions who are making the switch to natural gas.”
Natural gas service to Pictou County is welcome news to local leaders. Both Stellarton Mayor Joe Gennoe and New Glasgow Mayor Barrie MacMillan were delighted about Thursday’s announcement.
“The arrival of natural gas is an important step towards having more affordable, sustainable energy options for homes and businesses,” said Gennoe.
“The natural gas pipeline activation in New Glasgow and Stellarton is good for the growth and development of this region and a sustainable future,” said MacMillan.
It’s not hard to see Heritage Gas’s work along the sidewalks of the two towns. Construction manager Matthew Sears noted that work would continue for another three weeks.
“We’ve been working closely with each of the town’s engineering staff,” said Sears. “We’re doing directional drilling and it requires a lot of work to ensure we know where water and sewer mains, along with many other items under the street, are located.”
Sears noted that more pipeline will be laid next year, as the existing infrastructure in Abercrombie will cross the East River to hook up with the Aberdeen Hospital.
“We recognize there’s a lot more to do to get natural gas into homes and businesses which is why we’re here today,” said Smith. “By the end of 2015, we will have laid more than 15 kilometres of pipeline in New Glasgow and Stellarton, providing access to over 600 homes and businesses.”
Heritage Gas provides natural gas service to more than 5,500 customers in Halifax, Pictou, Amherst and Oxford. A Calgary-based AltaGas Ltd. subsidiary, Heritage Gas estimates that in 2013 alone, its natural gas customers saved more than $76 million and reduced greenhouse gas emissions by over 200,000 tonnes.
On Twitter: @NGNewsJohn